The Rectory Grounds in Eglinton were packed by people of all ages, on Wednesday evening, as the three main local churches marked the first anniversary of last summer’s flooding in the village with a Community Fun Day.
Eglinton was one of the communities worst-affected when torrential rain fell on the North West, on August 22 last year, forcing the River Faughan to burst its banks. Scores of homes and businesses were inundated and dozens of families were displaced from their homes. There was substantial damage, too, in other parts of Counties Derry and Donegal where homes were flooded, roads damaged and bridges washed away.
Wednesday evening’s Fun Day took place at the exact time the heavy rain began falling on Eglinton a year earlier but this year the weather conditions could hardly have been more different: people milled about in shirt sleeves or summer dresses, enjoying music from a live band; there was free ice cream on offer and smoke from a barbecue wafted across the Rectory lawn. A children’s roundabout was installed for the evening in the courtyard, there were bouncy castles on the lawn, and there was face-painting and balloon games for younger children.
The Rector of Faughanvale, Rev Canon Paul Hoey, and the Minister of Faughanvale Presbyterian Church, Rev Lindsay Blair, mingled with their guests, although the third of the joint-organisers, Fr Noel McDermott, was unable to be present. Among those who attended were the Deputy Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Derek Hussey, and Independent Councillor Maurice Devenney.
In a short address, the Deputy Mayor congratulated the local community for their resilience in coming through the past year, in the face of the many difficulties they had been faced with.
That community resilience and the sense of togetherness with which the villagers had responded to last year’s crisis were the qualities the three local church leaders had sought to celebrate on Wednesday evening.