LISBURN City Council has announced a series of events, organised in conjunction with the Ulster Aviation Society and the Harry Ferguson Celebration Committee, to mark the 100th Anniversary of the First Flight in Ireland by the famed local inventor. This Friday (July 31) sees the start of the celebratory events with a public exhibition, consisting of photographs of Harry Ferguson and models of tractors and planes made famous by him, displayed in the Rotunda (main entrance hall) at the Island Civic Centre in Lisburn. The exhibition is open daily until Tuesday August 11 and entry is free.
Saturday August 15 sees the Annual Working Day event, held at the Harry Ferguson Memorial Gardens, Dromara. This event is being billed as a dual celebration of 70 years of Ford Ferguson, and the First Flight centenary. It will consist of a colourful and interesting display of both national and international modern and vintage tractors and an aircraft fly-over (weather permitting).
The week commencing Monday August 17 will see the launch of a Harry Ferguson Self-Guided Trail Leaflet, which will feature such points of interest as the home in which Harry grew up, the schools he attended
(Drumlough Presbyterian Church Hall and Ballykeel school site), and his place of worship (Growell Gospel Hall).
The same week will see the unveiling of a memorial piece, commissioned by the working group and currently being prepared by Whiteabbey-based artist and sculptor John Sherlock. The artwork, a bronze plaque, will be sited at Hillsborough Forest Park, across the lake from the area in which Harry flew his plane on December 31, 1909. The plaque will be unveiled by a member of the Ferguson Family.
A lecture evening will be held on Thursday August 20 from 7pm-
9.30pm, at the Island Hall. The subject of the conference will be 'The Harry Ferguson Legacy'. Guest speakers include: Wesley Bonar, Custodian of Sentry Hill Museum and Heritage Centre, Newtownabbey; Guy Warner, author of some 12 books on aspects of Ulster aviation history, and, Ernie Cromie, Chairman of the Ulster Aviation Society.
Chairman of the Ulster Aviation Society, Ernie Cromie said of the events: "Harry Ferguson's aviation legacy is a remarkable one which has been largely taken for granted; hopefully these celebrations will inspire the Ulster public to examine it afresh."