A NUMBER of events have been planned locally to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the First Flight in Ireland by local inventor Harry Ferguson (1884 - 1960).
Lisburn City Council's Tourism Development department has formed a working group with the Ulster Aviation Society and the Harry Ferguson Celebration Committee to develop an itinerary of events to mark the centenary of the First Flight in August.
Harry Ferguson completed the first successful flight in Ireland of a powered, fixed-wing aircraft in 1909 in a monoplane designed, built and flown at Hillsborough by the local inventor.
The working group is proposing to stage a weeklong itinerary of events in August,
beginning with the Annual Working Day at the Harry Ferguson Memorial Gardens on Saturday August 15. 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 a 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 went to (Drumlough Presbyterian Church Hall and Ballykeel school site), and the church he attended (Growell Gospel Hall).
This week will also see the unveiling of a memorial piece, commissioned by the working group and currently being prepared by 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.
Chairman of the Ulster Aviation Society, Ernie Cromie says of the events proposed, "Harry Ferguson's aviation legacy is a remarkable one which has been largely taken for granted; hopefully this week of celebrations will inspire the Ulster public to examine it afresh."
For more information on the events contact Lisburn Tourist Information Centre on 9266 0038 or Hillsborough Tourist Information Centre on 9268 9717.
THE week-long series of events to commemorate the centenary of Harry Ferguson's first flight in Ireland will educate and entertain local people when they take place in August.
Kicking off with the Annual Working Day at the Harry Ferguson Memorial Gardens on Saturday August 15, this will be a dual celebration of 70 years of Ford Ferguson, and the First Flight centenary.
A conference will be held on Thursday August 20, 7.30pm9.30pm, at the Island Hall, Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn. The subject of the conference will be 'The Harry Ferguson Legacy'. Guest speakers include Wesley Bonar, the biographer of Lillian Bland, a fellow pioneer of flight, like Harry; Guy Warner, aviation historian and author of some 12 books on the subject, who will give a lecture entitled 'The Aerial Heirs of Harry Ferguson'; and, Ernie Cromie, Chairman of the Ulster Aviation Society, who will talk about the late Sir James Martin's development of the military aircraft ejection seat.
Of the proposed events Councillor Allan Ewart, Chairman of the Economic Development Committee at Lisburn City Council said: "The working group has worked hard to come up with suitable events to commemorate this, the centenary year of Harry Ferguson's First Flight in Ireland. It is my belief that these events will serve as a fitting tribute to a great inventor and engineer who contributed so much to aeronautics, and modern agriculture. The Council is delighted to support this itinerary of events."