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Portadown bonfire builders use pallets to pay tribute to the NHS

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A loyalist bonfire cancelled because of Covid-19 has been turned into a giant tribute to the NHS

A loyalist bonfire cancelled because of Covid-19 has been turned into a giant tribute to the NHS

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A loyalist bonfire cancelled because of Covid-19 has been turned into a giant tribute to the NHS

A loyalist bonfire cancelled because of Covid-19 has been turned into a giant tribute to the NHS.

More than 800 pallets normally used to build one of Portadown's biggest Eleventh Night bonfires were arranged to spell out 'NHS'.

The team behind the tribute at the Drumilly bonfire site, between the Corcrain and Redmanville estates, plans to paint the structures and fly NHS flags from them until after the Twelfth.

Jordan Russell, chair of the local Create community group, said he was delighted with the outcome.

"We decided early on that there would be no bonfire because we don't want to have mass crowds gathering. Instead, we decided to show our support to the NHS," Mr Russell explained.

"Around 15 people - five adults and the rest young people in their teens who would normally build the bonfire - created the structures.

"It is 36 pallets high and took two days to build. These young people take pride in the bonfire and they were disappointed when they were told it wouldn't be happening this year.

"Building the sign for the NHS has given them something else to focus on and have a sense of pride in. We don't want people to gather at it and we hope to put a fence round it to discourage this."

The tribute has attracted a lot of attention in the local community, with cars stopping to admire it.

Mr Russell added: "Every Thursday night everyone in the two estates comes out to clap for the NHS. There is a massive sense of appreciation locally for frontline workers and this is our way of thanking them."

Belfast Telegraph