Queen’s Award celebrations

GARVAGH AWARD RI Farm
CONGRATULATIONS: The Garvagh Clydesdale and Vintage Vehicle Club’s Annual Show celebrations this year took the form of a live Facebook concert on Friday August 28, followed by separate tractor and car runs on Saturday September 5. The Saturday events were also marked by the official presentation of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service recently awarded in recognition of the work of the club volunteers, H.M. Lord-Lieut. For Londonderry Alison Millar is pictured presenting the framed certificate received by Cllr. Michelle Knight-McQuillan, club sec., and the crystal award received by Nevin Smith, club chairman, accompanied by Desmond Hill, D.L., Prof. Gerry McKenna, D.L., and Helen Mark, D.L.

IN spite of Covid-19 rest-rictions members of Garvagh Clydesdale and Vintage Veh-icle Club have continued with their efforts to raise money for local charities.

Having recently been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the equivalent of an MBE for charity groups, the club organised an online video concert via Facebook with funds being donated to the NHS. The concert featured local musicians Victor Gregg, Big Dave, John and Lucy Kerr, Dessie Moffet, three generations of the Stewart Family and dairy farmer/poet Brian Rankin.

Guest artists included Crawford Bell and Declan Nerney. The entire show was produced and directed by Linton Video Productions.

A further DVD entitled ‘25 Years of Garvagh Show and Vintage Rally’ has been produced and is available from club members and local outlets. Only recently released, it is already in huge demand.

Unfortunately, the highly acc-laimed Clydesdale Show and Vintage Rally was cancelled due to the current restrictions, however the club was confident that in the absence of any other outbreaks of Covid-19 locally a smaller vintage tractor and car rally around the local countryside was a safer option.

Held on what is locally known as Garvagh Show Day, the event took place on the first Saturday of September.

The proceedings commenced with the official presentation of the Queen’s Award. Michelle Knight-McQuillan welcomed the

following guests: HM Lord Lieutenant Alison Millar, Deputy Lord Lieutenant Desmond Hill,

Deputy Lord Lieutenant Helen Mark, Deputy Lord Lieutenant Gerry McKenna, the Mayor Cause-

way Coast and Glens Council,

Alderman Mark Fielding, and

Lady Mayoress Phyllis Fielding.

HM Lord Lieutenant Alison Millar addressed the audience on the merits of the Queen’s Award and offered her congratulations to the club on its success, making special reference to the fact

that this was a very special way

of preserving the history of vintage vehicles and farming methods, including Clydesdale horses.

The selection committee also noted the fact that during the 25-year period of the club’s existence over £200,000 had been donated to various local charity groups. The Queen’s Award was then presented to Club Chairman Nevin Smith.

In reply, Nevin thanked the Lord Lieutenant and her associates for their attendance and their diligent service in carrying out the allocation of these awards. He said: “It is an honour and a privilege to receive this Queen’s Award on behalf of our club, especially in our 25th anniversary year.

“The aim of our club has always been to maintain and preserve the traditions of rural life in this community.

“Vintage ploughing, the oper-ation of the threshing mill and the promotion of the Clydesdale horse breed hold special mem-ories for many of us and are a very worthwhile attraction when it comes to fundraising.

“The annual Clydesdale Show and Vintage Vehicle Rally is now firmly established as being the highlight of our year and brings visitors from far and near to see the show and the grand parade along Main Street.”

Nevin apologised for the fact that the Clydesdales could not be present this year, explaining that while the breed is well known for its excellent temperament, training them to be socially distant was just one step too far! However, there was an excellent turnout of vintage tractors and cars in immaculate condition.

Club secretary Michelle Knight-

McQuillan presented the guests

with a copy of the 25th anniversary DVD and invited them to view the exhibits on show.

The parade of vintage tractors was led by Tom Stewart driving the club Fordson Major tractor, a magnificent exhibit which

has been the pride and joy of the club having been owned by founder member the late Nelson Andrews.

The vintage car section of the rally was led by Vice-Chairman Gerald Stewart with a red 1980 Ford Escort 1.6 and a 1979 beige Escort GHIA, both superbly restored and in excellent con-dition.

Drivers and spectators clearly had a very enjoyable day out and welcomed the opportunity to donate to the NHS.

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