Rathcoole community pays tribute to war fallen

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Residents from across Rathcoole have been paying tribute to fallen service personnel as the ‘Row on Row’ memorial returned to the Newtownabbey estate for the third year in succession.

Rathcoole ‘Row on Row’ is a community project currently underway beside the Sir James Craig Play Park.

It has been organised by the RATH Community Group and members of Dalaradia to recognise the men and women who sacrificed their lives in World War One and World War Two.

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The 2022 memorial was opened on Sunday, November 6 by Rosemary Bell McCracken on behalf of RATH and Dalaradia.

The community gathered at the site on November 6.The community gathered at the site on November 6.
The community gathered at the site on November 6.

Detailing how the event has grown since its inception in 2020, she explained: “Our first year was during a world pandemic and in very uncertain times. In 2020 the Royal British Legion had been calling on members of the public to assist their campaigns as the pandemic forced many veteran volunteers to stay at home.

"Many remembrance services were unfortunately cancelled and with that in mind, our aim was to offer a small space within the estate for people to lay crosses in someone’s memory in aid of the Poppy Appeal with the main aim at that time being a permanent memorial garden in the near future. In our second year, in 2021 and still in our infancy, we were able to welcome people a little more freely and expand.

“During our early stages we reached out to various people who helped. We must thank Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for their help.

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“There is still work to be done and at present we are working on a larger memorial garden site which we hope we can achieve for not only everyone within Rathcoole, but further afield.”

Rosemary Bell-McCracken opened this year's memorial.Rosemary Bell-McCracken opened this year's memorial.
Rosemary Bell-McCracken opened this year's memorial.

During the opening event, wreaths were laid at the memorial by groups including the Boys’ Brigade, community associations, flute bands and sports clubs.

Thanking everyone who attended Sunday’s memorial service, a spokesperson for RATH said: “The biggest thanks is to the general public who attended on the day. We really appreciate it. The garden is an open space and is available to members of the community to lay crosses. Please feel free to at any stage.”

The memorial garden will be available until Monday, November 14 for residents to come and pay their respects.