Northern Ireland

Weekly paper review: Hockey heroes, power-lifting and shared futures

Ice hockey Image copyright Getty/GoodLifeStudio
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coel chron
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Banbridge Chronicle Image copyright Banbridge Chronicle
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Fermanagh Image copyright Fermanagh herald
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The Coleraine Chronicle leads with the story of yet another long-established Northern Ireland family shop closing.

Department store Dixons has been trading in the town for more than a century.

Image caption Dixons in Coleraine is closing after more than a century of trading in the town

The Chronicle says the firm, run by four generations of the Dixon family, was the first boutique in Coleraine and that "customers travelled for miles to what became known as the style hub of the north coast".

The Ballymena Guardian says that Mid and East Antrim Council's decision to move its Halloween extravaganza to the town's People's Park proved to be "bang on".

It says "an astounding 7,500 people joined in the spooktacular fun".

Now, the Guardian adds, some Ballymena folk are asking if the park could be used for a major Christmas celebration in the town.

Hockey hero

Meanwhile, the paper has a picture of 11-year-old Ballymena boy Ethan McClean with his hero, Pittsburgh Penguins ice hockey star, Sidney Crosby.

Ethan, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, met Crosby - regarded as one of the NHL's best players - during a recent trip to the US.

His dad, Andy, described the moment Ethan met his hero: "There were tears. We had to help Ethan fight them back. He couldn't believe who was standing in front of him."

'Best thing I ever did'

In County Tyrone, a Cookstown woman who took up power lifting to help improve her mental health has encouraged everyone to get involved.

The Mid Ulster Mail says mother of one, Lisa Bell, recently enjoyed success at the World Drug Free European Championships in England and the World Championship in Germany.

Lisa, a civil servant, said for people struggling with mental health issues, power lifting can help build self-confidence and a sense of well-being.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cookstown woman Lisa Bell has encouraged people to take up power lifting

"I only began competing in power lifting two years ago at the age of 42 and it's the best thing I ever did," she tells the Mail.

The paper also says a woman was disgusted after her six-year-old daughter's screams alerted her to a swarm of flies in a changing area at Cookstown swimming pool.

Mid Ulster District Council said it was working to address issues with drain flies which it said were harmless.

Traffic concern

The Banbridge Chronicle leads this week with news of a new traffic survey to be taken outside Bridge Integrated Primary School.

The school's principal, Theresa Devlin, said it was "only a matter of time" before someone was "injured or even killed on the road outside the school".

The new survey will be conducted soon after the last determined that "it did not meet the requirements for a school crossing patrol".

The paper also covered Craigavon Area Hospital's Obstetric and Gynaecology team being ranked number one in the UK by its Royal College.

The evaluation was based on feedback from trainee doctors - 174 units across the UK were included in the survey.

Last year, the team looked after more than 4,000 births, almost 30,000 consultant and midwifery outpatient appointments and more than 18,000 gynaecology appointments.

Barry Conway, assistant director of acute services for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, said that the ranking is "a true reflection of the dedication of our obstetric and gynaecology service to their patients".

Shared future project

The Lurgan Mail had a feature article this week about shared futures in Northern Ireland.

Pupils from Lurgan College, Lurgan Junior High and St Ronan's went to San Diego in the summer to an international conference on shared education.

The focus of their presentation was on no-go areas of the town based on their religion, using technology to map out what areas in the town they felt safe in.

The paper also featured the town becoming the first in the borough to switch on the Christmas lights on the 15 November.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Mealla Campbell, says that the switch on is going to be an "amazing evening to kick off all the festive fun".

Image copyright Getty Images

Meanwhile, love is in the air in Fermanagh, according to the Fermanagh Herald with a new study showing the county has the highest marriage rate in Northern Ireland.

The paper says that data from 2017, analysed by law firm Mackenzie and Dorman, has shown that Fermanagh had the highest marriage rate per head of population, equating to 0.61%.

Colin Bates of the firm said that marriage rates have dropped as more couples now opt to live together, rather than make a legal commitment.

"The rate in Fermanagh could be due to more traditional views, held in rural parts of the country or an effect of the low divorce rates in the area."