Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland


Hillsborough International Oyster Festival - 2008

 The 2008 Hillsborough International Oyster Festival was held on Thursday 4th to Saturday 6th September. Now in its 16th year, events included a Canadian open boat race, Tug-of-war and Fashion Show on Thursday; the Rat Pack Gala Ball on Friday; and a children�s fancy dress, children�s fun dog show, market, carnival, soapbox derby, World Oyster Eating Championship Finals and RAF Red Arrows fly-by on Saturday.

Hillsborough Square was packed wall to wall with people to see World Champion Oyster Eater Colin Shirlow regain his title, fighting off fierce competition from USA�s Sonya Thomas (The Black Widow) and other International competitors. Former Lisburn man Colin, who now lives in Dromore, was just three short of the world record of 233, woofing down an incredible 230 oysters; Sonya on this occasion only managed 191.

First prize in the senior Soap Box Derby Race was won by Morrow Fuels featuring well-known local rally driver Philip Morrow together with Jonny Morrow (driver), Derek Morrow and Hammy Bell; the joint runners up were Brown�s Coaches and Ruddle Metals. Hillsborough Young Farmers Club took first prize in the Junior Race; the runners-up were Plastic Fantastic and Biggles took third place. The �Almac� team collected �7,000 sponsorship winning the Harry Bell Trophy.

Saturday�s events began with the official opening of the festival in Hillsborough Castle where Norma Bell MBE, Chairperson of the Lisburn Action Cancer Group, thanked the organising committee of Hillsborough International Oyster Festival for their generous financial support. Guests included Alderman Edwin Poots MLA (Deputy Mayor), Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, May McFettridge, Action Cancer representatives and sponsors. Last year�s event raised �45k for charity and with continued support from their sponsors, the organisers hope to beat that amount this year.

A live band and BBQ in the marquee on Saturday evening finished what was a fantastic festival for all ages.

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