Borough Arts Committee honours two of its long-serving members

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ONE of the area’s longest-established arts organisations – Coleraine Borough Arts Committee - paid tribute to several of its longest-serving members recently as they retired from the committee.

Members met at Flowerfield Arts Centre just in advance of the recent classical concert by Jonathan and Iryna Johnston to pay tribute to Miss Peggy Vowles along with Mrs. Pat King and her husband William (the former Coleraine Mayor) for their many years of dedicated public service to the local arts scene.

The Arts Committee meets regularly at Flowerfield and administers a small grants budget aimed to support local artists and organisations in providing arts activity for the borough.

Over the years the committee has supported musicians, painters, event organisers and artists of all kinds with cultural events through small grants.

Most significantly, the committee fundraised for many years and raised the money for the beautiful Yamaha grand piano that is now regularly available for use as a community resource in the auditorium at Flowerfield.

The piano has also been used for a host of popular music, classical and jazz concerts as well as a rehearsal instrument by young pianists at the centre over the last few years.

Pat King and her husband Billy were heavily involved in the work of the committee from its earliest days. Although Billy retired from the committee as he retired from council service, Pat remained as chair for many years, resigning earlier this year.

Likewise, Peggy Vowles has been a stalwart of the local cultural scene for many years, a regular and faithful patron of the arts at all kinds of events, from gallery openings to concerts. She too, retired from the committee earlier this year after many years of active service.

The committee recently sponsored the Jonathan and Iryna Johnston concert, and members met for a small reception in the gallery at Flowerfield to honour Pat and Peggy. Current chairman Harry McMahon paid tribute to the ladies for their sterling service over the years, and his sentiments were echoed by the committee secretary, Malcolm Murchison, who is also the Borough Arts Officer.

Members then enjoyed the concert, which fittingly was centred around the beautiful grand piano - which would not have been there without their efforts.