WATCH: Local mayor makes safety appeal ahead of Eleventh night

Cllr Richard Holmes has praised the use of beacons for the celebrations.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has praised communities in the Windyhall area of Coleraine, Cloughmills and Mosside for their approach to 11th July celebrations.

In all three locations, the traditional bonfire has been replaced with a safer and more environmentally friendly beacon.

Councillor Richard Holmes visited Windyhall this week, where he met with some of those helping to organise this year’s event.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see local communities showing leadership in this way and taking steps to create a more positive occasion for all.

“The beacons replicate the bonfire experience in a controlled and safe way which creates a more welcoming experience which is a welcome step forward.

“They have proven to be a successful alternative and it would be hugely encouraging to see other areas choosing to celebrate in this way as well.

“For many the Twelfth holiday is the ultimate expression of cultural identity, with family and community engagement at the heart of the celebrations and events.

“I would ask all areas to keep this in mind as they make their final preparations in the days ahead. Please be respectful of others and ensure that you are creating a positive cultural celebration which you can be proud of.

“The fact that there are parades at all this year shows the success of the vaccination programme, and is a welcome return to normality for many, however I would remind people to adhere to the crucially important public health guidance.

“We cannot let our guard down over the holiday period – complacency is a danger to all of us. Maintain a social distance with others, wash your hands well and often and wear a mask where you are required. 

“This core advice remains as relevant now as it did at the beginning of the pandemic and following these steps will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19 or passing it on to someone else.”

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