Covid impact: Outgoing Mayor remembers Mid and East Antrim’s pandemic victims

The outgoing Mayor of Mid and East Antrim paid tribute to the 221 residents of the borough who have lost their lives to Covid since the beginning of the pandemic.

Speaking at the local authority’s AGM at The Braid in Ballymena, on Monday evening, Knockagh Councillor Peter Johnston said that the virus has “touched everyone’s lives in some way during the past year”.

He paid tribute to all NHS staff whom he said had “worked tirelessly in the battle against Covid-19 and he acknowledged and thanked key workers across all sectors, including council staff.

He highlighted the hundreds of “inspirational volunteers” across the borough who “stepped up when they were needed the most”.

Outgoing Mid and East Antrim Deputy Mayor Cllr Andrew Wilson and Mayor Cllr Peter Johnston.

On Saturday, Cllr Johnston presented the 918th certificate of appreciation which he has been distributing to those who have shown “remarkable commitment to their community” during the pandemic.

He said that one highlight has been meeting the volunteers and hearing their stories which he said will “live with him for the rest of his life”.

Another highlight of his mayoral year, he recalled was presenting six times World Superbike Champion Dr Jonathan Rea MBE with the ‘Freedom Scroll’ on conferring the Freedom of the Borough.

“Meeting him as Freeman of the Borough was a true honour He has now reached the incredible milestone of 100-race win.

Dr Jonathan Rea MBE and the outgoing Mayor Of Mid and East Antrim Cllr Peter Johnston

“Jonathan’s legacy gift to the borough was the setting up of a bursary to support young people in the years ahead. I look forward to others reaching the top of their sport with the help of this bursary.” Click here

Cllr Johnston continued: “It has been a very different year for me as mayor but a very busy and productive year.

He said he will endeavour to give his full support to the incoming Mayor and he will continue to work on issues that are particularly important to him including Armed Forces Day on June 19, the Northern Ireland centenary and union connectivity.

“As Mayor, I was proud to launch the Northern Ireland centenary programme. The ceremony was an occasion  I will never forget.

“As outgoing Mayor, it has been a privilege to serve the people of this borough as its first citizen.”

He praised outgoing Deputy Mayor Knockagh Ulster Unionist Cllr Andrew Wilson whom he noted had “never failed” to support him during the year.

Cllr Wilson said: “It has been quite a year as Deputy Mayor but I have enjoyed it. It has been a privilege.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter


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