Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Funday marks historic dawn for Belmont Tower

Noel Thompson a past pupil at Belmont with Heidi Gillespie a P1 pupil from Belmont Primary School

BELMONT Tower celebrated its new status as a National Trust property with a fun day on Saturday, August 31.

Children were entertained with face painting and balloons while the veritable menagerie that turned out courtesy of Phill's Farm, included an Alpaca, micro pig, goat and a huge rabbit.

"The National Trust Belfast Rangers were here showing us bugs, fossils, bug houses and lots of touchy feely things we could really get stuck into," said Fiona. "A big thanks to everyone who came to help set up today, and a big thanks to all the moms and dads who came out to support

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle was among those to enjoy the day. He said it was a great way to celebrate National Trust status. "Big congratulations to Old Belmont School Preservation Trust on all your hard work. My two children loved Phil's Farm and the pony ride. Great to see my old primary school building utilised and preserved in such inclusive way."

The former Belmont Primary School has been a landmark building in east Belfast for over 100 years.

Heather Thompson, director for the National Trust in Northern Ireland said: "Belmont Tower has an amazing history dating back to the 1890s. It plays a central role in the local community and is a landmark building which people from across the city recognise.

"The Old Belmont School Preservation Trust has worked tirelessly with the local community since 1999 and oversaw an impressive restoration project which was completed in 2004. Since then Belmont Tower has been a hive of activity, offering classes, conference facilities, a coffee shop and a CS Lewis exhibition.

"It is very much business as usual for this landmark building and we are very proud to welcome Belmont Tower to the National Trust. We also look forward to working closely with the many friends and partners who make this such a special place."

Helen Brooker, chairperson of The Old Belmont School Preservation Trust said: "The Old Belmont School Preservation Trust's vision was to see this landmark building restored to its former glory and brought back into use for the benefit of the local and wider community and future generations.

"Almost 14 years on, to know the future of the building has been secured by the National Trust, whilst adhering to the original vision has made the many years of obstacles and problems worthwhile.

"It is easy to forget the huge benefits a project like Belmont Tower has created but it means a beautiful building has been saved for all to appreciate. It provides an important focal point and venue for the immediate and wider community, it has created employment, supports local business and created opportunity for further innovation such as the C.S. Lewis Exhibition.

"The Trustees greatly appreciate the interest, support and encouragement of so many over the years and we all look forward to supporting and working with the National Trust as Belmont Tower moves forward under their care."

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