Holy Trinity Parish Centre in Portrush was officially opened and dedicated by the Right Rev Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor last week.
A milestone day in the history of Ballywillan Parish and for the town of Portrush, the Centre was full of parishioners and friends to celebrate the new lease of life for the building last Wednesday evening.
Formerly known as the Kelly Memorial Hall, the church has maintained a presence on the site in Victoria Street since 1895, with the old hall being fondly remembered by generations of Portrush residents as the Kelly School. Despite piecemeal extensions and repairs down through the years, the hall has needed a major refurbishment for some time.
In his address, the Rector, Canon Peter McDowell, hailed the visionary leadership that the Select Vestry had shown and the commitment of the Glebe Wardens, Archie Linnegan and Sammy Matthews, and the Treasurer Dennis Melville, who had undertaken the bulk of the necessary work and decision making. He also stressed the role of the late Eddie Clements, in keeping the need of a substantial refurbishment of the Parish Centre at the top of the Select Vestry’s agenda. In recognition of the immense impact he had had as Treasurer in enabling the Parish to be in a position to move forward with this project, the Select Vestry has named an upstairs room in his honour, and it was fitting that his wife, Isobel and other members of the family were present for the dedication.
The Rector also thanked Montgomery-Irwin Architects for all their guidance and cooperation and PRH Construction for completing the restoration both on time and in budget. He said the new Parish Centre would provide a welcome, well-equipped and safe environment for the whole community to make use of. Bishop Alan spoke of his delight at the completion of the renovation and encouraged the Parish to use the Centre to its full potential, both in the parish and the community.