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December 2017 update by Chairman, Ray Burrows

As we rapidly approach the end of 2017 it is with much pride that I look back on the Society’s achievements, especially when you consider we had some 145 group visits, totalling about 3,900 people!! If we take other private family groups which were not included on the general list plus casual visitors then I am positive we are knocking on the door of around 5,000 visitors. We are undoubtedly being talked about and being No.1 on TripAdvisor for the Lisburn and Castlereagh area under ‘Things to do’ has generated tremendous interest from abroad, including China, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada and the USA. The fact that we still provide tours and meet and greet people puts us way above most other facilities where visitors are simply left to do their own thing. Once again I salute our growing band of tour guides for the superb job they do with young and old alike. Keep it up guys.


And what about our magazine? Last month’s front cover almost blew me away. Considering our Editor has had to learn new methods and processes with the introduction of new technology I hope you will agree with me that the result he produces month after month is

simply staggering. To Graham, Mark, our loyal band of contributors and the printing team – thank you for another great year.


We continued with our re-introduced trips, with another fabulous continental visit this time to Frankfurt, where we visited both the Sinsheim Museum and the Technik Museum, Speyer over the period 20~23rd May and of course our latest trip was a one-day visit to

the Dumfries & Galloway collection. Our sincerest thanks must go to John May for his expertise in planning and delivery and of course for arranging our guest speakers each month as well. Take a well-earned break this month John – lol.


So what about the ‘downs’, because there were a few? We didn’t of course get our Open Days again this year and even without an Executive we didn’t get to open for European Heritage weekend either. I must admit that was not entirely unexpected although following a visit to Stormont Castle by Stephen Riley and myself we were hopeful at least regarding the European Heritage weekend. Meanwhile on the plus side we featured in a 45-minute programme on local TV channel NVTV. To date I think it has been repeated at least 12 times, so how much would you pay for 9 hours TV time? We also hosted a TV crew from TG4, the Dublin channel who will once again feature us on a programme about Ireland’s little-known tourist attractions; this one is to be shown Spring 2018.


Finally, we are almost at the 500-member mark and I have no doubt that we will achieve that figure during 2018. There is still nothing definite on the Hawk but don’t worry; after my telling you this time last year that we had no plans for any further acquisitions, didn’t we end up with a Sea Prince and two-thirds of a Cherokee 6? My last words for 2017 must be to wish you all a healthy, happy and peaceful Christmas and New Year. Until next year then... RB.

Tis the season to be jolly, yo ho ho! However, due to the death of two more long time dear friends andSociety members Tommy Keenan and Jim McSweeney plus that of my older brother, please forgive me if I’m alittle bit short of the festive spirit. November and early December is always a cruel time to lose friends but this year it seems to have been extremely harsh.