£10k project tribute to Ballymoney band members who made the ultimate sacrifice

Dunaghy Flute Band. INBM 42-751-CON
Dunaghy Flute Band. INBM 42-751-CON

The impact of the First World War on a Ballymoney band is to be explored through £10,000 Heritage Lottery Fund support.

Dunaghy Flute Band has received the funding for its Historical Awareness Project, based on WW1, particularly the Battle of the Somme.

The band wants to remember two members, John Biggart and Samuel Gray who volunteered to the battlefields. They both made the ultimate sacrifice and did not return home.

The initiative, scheduled to start in mid-October, aims to bring to the community the stories of John Biggart and Samuel Gray, as well as other men from the North Antrim area who fought in the Great War. The 10th and 16th Irish Divisions and the 36th Ulster Division will also be explored through workshops, seminars, educational classes, talks and local tours as well as an exhibition.

Band spokesperson Stephen Blair said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will help to promote and preserve the culture and heritage of local people as well as help promote a local educational resource to build capacity and skills of the local community.”

Established in 1907, seven years before WW1 started, Dunaghy Flute Band is an entirely voluntary organisation with 40 members and six committee members. Its activities include promoting cultural confidence and civic pride, bolstering morale of the community and facilitating the examination, exploration and appreciation of history, music, heritage and culture.

Paul Mullan, head of HLF NI, said: “Through researching the lives and experiences of two members of the band, this project will uncover the local impacts of the First World War. All across the UK we have been supporting communities to explore their local stories in relation to the First World War. It is thanks to National Lottery players that we can support these fascinating projects that are helping to increase our knowledge about the war and its impacts.”