Derek's festival vision proved to be a winner
by JENNY MONROE
From left to right, Derek
Patterson, wife Pamela Patterson, Craig Doyle,
Councillor Margaret Tollerton, Veronica Kearney
from Lisburn Tourist Information Centre and
Alderman Jim Dillon. Lisburn Tourist Information
Centre was a shortlisted nominee for Tourist
Information Centre of the Year.
A HILLSBOROUGH chef who cooked up one of the
most unlikely tourism success recipes of the last two decades
has been honoured at the Northern Ireland Travel and Tourism
Derek Patterson of the renowned Plough Bar
took away an award for the best event/marketing initiative.
Sixteen years ago he came up with the idea that an international
oyster festival was just what the Georgian village of
Hillsborough needed to underline its potential as a local
However, he was one of the few who thought
the village could be identified with an oyster festival -not
surprisingly as it's at least 20 miles from the nearest oyster
beds at Dundrum Bay and Strangford Lough.
But that didn't stop the inventive and
enthusiastic chef who rounded up local traders, hostelry owners
and townspeople to launch an event which has mushroomed into one
of the most successful tourism events in the Province.
Derek, who with brother Richard runs the
Plough Bar and its offshoot Barretro, is still heavily involved
in the Festival and Chairman of the Organising Committee. He was
rewarded for his foresight and hard work when he collected the
award for the Best Northern Ireland Event/Marketing Initiative
for his efforts in not only helping launch the Festival but
being at the helm through 16 successful years.
Now the Hillsborough Oyster Festival is not
only the venue for the world oyster eating championships, it
attracts international participants and spectators, lures
thousands of visitors annually and has raised thousands upon
thousands of pounds for charity.
Local businesses also get the spinoff from an
event which has now made the name of Hillsborough synonymous