At the recent Annual General Meeting of the Maghera Historical Society on the 1st December 2016, Denver Boyd was elevated from his position as Vice-chair to Chair of the Society. At the same meeting James Armour stood down from his position as Honorary secretary of the Maghera Historical Society and stated that he would not be putting his name forward for re-election as he wished to pursue the organisation and running of the newly-formed Maghera Heritage and Cultural Centre Ltd. as a separate, but closely allied, organisation. Denver follows in the footsteps of Joseph McCoy who stepped down after two years in the Chair in order, as Joseph put it ‘that a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective be brought to the position’. All at the Heritage and Cultural Centre would like to thank Joseph for his dedication and hard work over his term of office and also for being the initial inspiration behind the MHS. We wish Denver well in his new role and know that the Maghera Historical Society will continue to flourish and grow under his guidance and leadership.
Two years ago, the Maghera Historical Society was put on a formal footing at a public meeting called by James Armour. At that time a constitution was adopted – with one of the main aims being: To provide a suitable centre in Maghera where information, records, publications, photographs, memorabilia, folk memories and artefacts, connected with the history of the town and the surrounding districts can be collected, preserved, displayed and consulted in a venue that is open to the public. This centre is also to be used to run a programme of events relating to the culture and heritage of the area and to engage and work with the local community in an open and inclusive way, involving people from all backgrounds and cultures to celebrate and promote the present-day culture and the past heritage of Maghera.
With the opening of the Heritage and Cultural Centre premises in the town in October 2015 these aims came to fruition and in the past year the Centre has lived up to the ideals set out above with almost forty events of all descriptions taking place, each of which re-enforced the culture and heritage of the area in an open, inclusive and welcoming way.
To deal with the amount of work generated by the Maghera Heritage and Cultural Centre Ltd. and to strengthen and clarify its identity, it has been decided that it will be managed separately from the Historical Society. As the name suggests the Maghera Historical Society will focus on the history of Maghera and its surroundings, exploring, researching and preserving its distinguished past.
The Maghera Heritage and Cultural Centre Ltd. will be concerned with the heritage of the town going back as far as living memory, and Maghera’s present-day culture. These themes will be reflected in the output of the Centre which will consist of the gathering of oral-histories, the preservation of all that is best in the built fabric of the area, exhibitions, workshops and events featuring aspects of life in the town and the publication of a bi-annual magazine and other material relating to the locality.
Both the Maghera Historical Society and the Maghera Heritage and Cultural Centre Ltd. although two separate entities, will ensure that all their work is carried out in an open, inclusive way which fosters cross-community social interaction, and pride in the town.
So we wish Denver Boyd and James Armour, together with their committee members and helpers, every success in their endeavours over the coming months and years as both organisations, hopefully bring increased benefits to the local community and improve the quality of life in Maghera and the surrounding districts in a very concrete and meaningful way.
Our magazine ‘Maghera Times’ was launched at the meeting by the editor Maeve O’Neill who thanked all the contributors for their support.
After a welcome break for refreshments the evening was finished off with a rousing session of traditional music organised by Pat Rafferty.