Belfast Telegraph

CS Lewis, Gary Moore and Derek Dougan: Three famous local faces serving on the eastern front

By Amanda Ferguson

Lifelike images of CS Lewis, Gary Moore and Derek Dougan are turning heads in east Belfast.

Famous faces from the area are making an appearance on vinyl panelling on the Newtownards Road and causing double-takes.

Striking photographs on shop fronts of author Lewis, former Wolves and Northern Ireland footballer Dougan and rock guitarist Moore are in place as part of a campaign by Belfast City Council, the Department for Social Development and the East Belfast Partnership to cover up derelict and empty buildings and brighten up streets in need of regeneration.

Fake shop front stickers, as they are sometimes known, are employed in locations across the province to take the bad look off empty buildings in places such as Bushmills and Armagh, and in preparation for televised events, including last year's Giro d'Italia.

Karl Bennett, chairman of the Newtownards Road and Inner East Traders Association, said the images of famous east Belfast faces provided a talking point and provoked conversation in and about the area.

"Moves such as this are positive moves," he said.

"It generates interest around those personalities from east Belfast.

"If it attracts people's interest, it can only be seen as positive."

Mr Bennett said members had high hopes for the area.

"Investment is critical," he said.

"We want the Newtownards Road to be a pilot for start-ups or businesses looking to expand, with some form of better rate relief. I have seen five to 10 more new businesses open up over last year."

PUP councillor John Kyle said: "Pictures of people from east Belfast who made names for themselves gives people a sense of pride and young people role models to create aspiration in the area. They are preferable to empty or derelict shops. Making an area look well is an important step in terms of regeneration."

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"In the absence of real shops it is something connected to the east Belfast community that brightens up the place. It showcases some of the really creative people in all walks of life to come from the area," said Maurice Kinkead, chief executive of the East Belfast Partnership. Its Eastside Arts Festival runs this year from August 19-31. For information visit eastbelfastpartnership.org

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