Newtownabbey venue sought for fire service museum

A Newtownabbey man with an extensive collection of fire service memorabilia is hoping to find a permanent home to exhibit the items.

Carnmoney resident, Alan Harper, who served in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) in the Regional Control Centre in Lisburn from 2007 to 2016, is hoping to establish a museum in Newtownabbey to showcase the thousands of artefacts he has been collecting since his interest first started when he was aged 11.

Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times, he said: “There had been a number of fires near where I lived and then the firebomb blitz on shops in Glengormley on March 5, 1981. My father knew one of the leading firemen in Glengormley, Christie Porter, who took me to the station on drill nights. 40 years later, my interest has only grown.

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“I love all of the items in my collection (totalling around 6,500) and can tell you a story about most of them. “Perhaps my most treasured item is a letter and article relating to the plane crash on the Cave Hill in 1944, items from the Belfast Fire Brigade, uniform belonging to Christie Porter and items I was presented with over the years.”

Alan Harper.

Mr Harper added: “My collection covers all of Northern Ireland, especially Glengormley Fire Station. I also have memorabilia from the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

“Forming a museuem to exhibit all of my artefacts is my ultimate goal, but due to the cost involved, I’ve been unable to locate a premises for the facility. The items are currently on display at a friend’s business in Islandmagee (not open to the public). Ideally, I’d like to establish the museum near to home, in memory of Christie.”

Alan has requested that if anyone has any fire related items they would like to donate or loan to his museum, to email [email protected]

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Alan has been collecting the items for 40 years.

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The items are currently being stored in east Antrim.
Alan is hoping to establish a museum in Newtownabbey.