Big Alan is ‘doing it for the Port’

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AN online campaign dreamed up by Alan ‘Mr Portrush’ Simpson to hide the derelict Metropole building behind a giant tarpaulin depicting Northern Ireland’s major golf winners is gathering pace.

The idea stemmed from concerns that visitors coming into Portrush in June for the Irish Open would be less than impressed with the derelict buildings in the resort, particularly the Metropole which is situated on the main approach road to the town.

The idea was hatched by Radio Ulster’s Alan who was responsible for devising the new road signs which welcome drivers into Portrush - the home of three golfing Major winners, Fred Daly, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke.

Alan told the Times: “The idea came from a by-law in Venice which prohibits anyone seeing any building work so they hide the buildings behind huge mesh facades during the renovations.

“My feeling is that there is no point in making a huge net facade of what the new building may look like as no one knows but instead to use an image that everyone in Portrush is proud of and which will be seen globally and portray Portrush in a positive light.

“So the ideal image I think is the picture of Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke welcoming visitors to Portrush, the home of Major golfing success.

“It is purely a cosmetic idea which started out on Facebook as a bit of my ‘imagineering’.

“I don’t want this to cost anyone any money so at this stage I am meeting with people simply to find out if it’s feasible, what legalities might be involved and to see whether it is possible to use the other side of the facade for advertising revenue to cover the cost.

“I’m not saying this will definitely happen but I would love it to be sorted in time for the North West 200. Who knows we might even start calling it Golf Corner instead of Metropole Corner,” he mused.

Alan’s idea has attracted many positive comments on Facebook - especially after he posted a mock-up of what the Metropole could look like.

“One person on Facebook commented that perhaps visitors, golfers and locals alike would like to have their photographs taken in front of it. That was something which I hadn’t thought of.

“It’s simply an idea to show Portrush in a positive light because derelict buildings can’t just be sorted out overnight.

“It’s an artistic solution to a problem in the town but I don’t want it to cost anyone anything. I’m just doin’ it for the Port,” said Alan.

And, just this weekend, Alan has reported that US Open champ Graeme McDowell has also thrown his weight behind the Metropole scheme.

Watch this space...

STORY BY UNA CULKIN