Northern Ireland

George Best Belfast childhood home to be holiday flats

The childhood home of George Best in east Belfast is being turned into self-catering holiday flats.

The house, 16 Burren Way, off the Cregagh Road, was bought for £100,000 by a community regeneration group.

Image caption George Best signed as a professional for Manchester United at 17

The footballer lived there until he was 15, when he was taken to Manchester by manager Matt Busby to take a job as an office boy near United's ground.

He had shared the mid-terrace with his parents, Anne and Dickie and five brothers and sisters.

Best died in 2005 aged 59, after suffering multiple organ failure.

His father Dickie died three years later, while his mother Anne died some years before.

The house was first put on the market in 2008 for offers of about £165,000.

The property has been bought by Landmark East, a company owned by East Belfast Partnership, which plans to convert it into self-catering holiday accommodation.

Chief executive Maurice Kincaid said profits would be invested in the local community and used for other regeneration projects in the area.

Investment

"As well as safeguarding the childhood home of one of east Belfast's most famous residents, the investment has allowed us to create and build a profitable social economy business by turning the property into holiday accommodation," he said.

Mr Kincaid said the house was largely unchanged.

Image caption George Best lived at 16 Burren Way until the age of 15

"The only thing we've done is with George's room, where we've turned it back to how it was when he left home," he said.

It was bought with the assistance of a loan from the Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT), which provides loans for social projects.

Its director of operations, Jonathan McAlpin, said: "As the largest provider of social finance in Northern Ireland, UCIT is on hand to support organisations like Landmark East when banks and other financial institutions will not readily assist, allowing them to create wealth and employment in local areas."

A plaque commemorates the footballer at the house, which has been refurbished and will be available to rent later this year.

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