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Excellent first year for Discover Groomsport

 ‘An excellent first year.” That was the comment made by Elaine Nixon, the chair of Discover Groomsport, when she gave her report to the organisation’s first Annual General Meeting in the village last week. A community group with an interest in the history and heritage of the village, Discover Groomsport, was set up in October 2022.

In her report, Elaine detailed Discover Groomsport’s achievements. These included becoming a registered charity and running a Coronation Big Picnic which 1,000 people attended. In the summer months, 11 guided walking tours were held – all of which were fully booked. Based on the tour, a map and guide for self-guided tours was released. The leaflet was designed and illustrated by Dan Parsons, a local artist.

Looking forward, she said that Discover Groomsport would be working with Council staff at Cockle Row Cottages to hold a Hallowe’en event on Sunday, 29th October and a Christmas Tree Lights switch-on event in the village on Friday, 1st December.

Elaine announced that a joint project with Ulster University will start shortly. This will produce a digitised archive of the history of the village.

She thanked all the trustees for their hard work during the year, including Etta Halliday and Prof. Ruth Fee, who had to stand down from the committee.

In his report, David Martin, the Treasurer, detailed the difficulties new voluntary organisations face in opening bank accounts. After being in existence for four months, Discover Groomsport managed to open an account. From that time, the group successfully applied for Council grants that helped Discover Groomsport deliver, among other things, the Coronation party, the walking tours, and the forthcoming Christmas event. Discover Groomsport has also benefitted from donations from trustees, members and others.

Frances McCormick of the County Down Rural Community Network chaired the election of trustees. It was agreed that the nine existing trustees should be re-elected, along with two new trustees – Sharon Goldie and Jim McMullan.

At a brief trustees meeting after the AGM, the officers of Discover Groomsport were re-elected;

Chair: Elaine Nixon
Vice-chair: Geoff McKeown
Secretary: Peter Gibson
Treasurer: David Martin