THE sister of Northern Ireland footballing legend George Best has unveiled a special mural of him in Coleraine.
Barbara McNarry and her husband, Norman, unveiled the mural, created by local artist Ross Wilson and young people of the Windyhall and Greenmount Estates last Monday.
Located on the Windyhall Community Building, the mural was part of a project delivering youth and community work in the Coleraine area.
The project sought to engage with young people in a civic youth programme in Greenmount, Windyhall and Garvagh, which would culminate in the production of three pieces of public art.
The young people who participated in the project were Richard Ellis, David Peacock, Tony Stirling, Graham McKay, Kyle McIlreavey, Chris Mahood and Luke Forgrave from Greenmount and Ryan Cullen, Denver Freeman, Scott Freeman, Bryan Freeman, Cameron Kane, Steven Brogan and Jamie Wilson.
The teenagers have been worked closely with Ross Wilson since February exploring the theme of sporting legends and what these idols represented to the young people involved.
Other facilitators included Michael Walker, Youth Inclusion Officer with Causeway Rural abd Urban Network (working in partnership with NEELB) and Stephen McCartney, Coleraine Borough Council Community Sports Officer and Drew McAfee Community Sports Coach. The project was initiated through Catherine Magee, local Neighbourhood Policing Inspector.
Catherine worked closely with Rose Smyth, CRUN Good Relations Officer and representatives of Greenmount and Windyhall Community Associations to develop the programme and to make the local necessary links to make it happen. A funding application was then sent to the NI Assets Recovery Agency who awarded the project £6,100.
Inspector Magee said: “This is another positive example of the Assets Recovery Incentivisation Scheme and the significant role it plays in helping local communities. This community artwork project benefits not only the people of Windyhall Estate, but those across the the wider Coleraine area. Recovered criminal assets have helped projects across Northern Ireland, including the highly successful ‘Beat It’ initiative which featured across the Newry, Portadown and Armagh. This also highlights the positive relationship between local police, Coleraine Borough Council and a number of partner agencies in financing the initiative.”
A further £6,600 was awarded to the project by the Department of Justice through Coleraine Borough Community Safety Partnership and £6,550 was allocated from Causeway Rural and Urban Network Good Relations Project which is funded by the International Fund for Ireland. A good relations grant was also awarded to the project.
As well as the artwork on the exterior of the community centre a smaller version of the painting is displayed within the building and a further picture of George in his 1960’s Manchester United colours has been placed in Coleraine Leisure Centre. Further artworks will be launched over the coming months.
Julie Welsh, Community Development Manager, Coleraine Borough Council said: We are encouraged by the degree of collaboration which took place by the young people involved and agencies that worked successfully in partnership to enable this project to take place’.”
Stephen McCartney, Community Sports Development Officer for Coleraine Borough Council added: “This is the first time we have been involved in a sport and art project and it has proved hugely popular with the young people from Windyhall and Greenmount. The hard work the young people have put into these projects is evident for all to see today when they come into Windyhall.