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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



21 May 2018

The big guns were rolled out at Antrim Castle Gardens recently as Clotworthy House provided a stunning backdrop for a ceremony rooted in history. Guests witnessing the event included many from the medical field across Northern Ireland, who were hosted by Defence Relationship Management.

Army Reserve officers and soldiers from 206 (Ulster) Battery, Royal Artillery, based at Coleraine and Newtownards, joined by Officer Cadets from Queen's University Officers' Training Corps, fired the celebratory traditional 21 Gun Royal Salute which marked Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, a tribute echoed at similar events in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. 

Today Gun Salutes mark special, usually Royal, occasions, but the ceremony originated when the firing of a cannon as a Salute indicated the friendly intent of an empty chamber and Gun Salutes were fired, both on land and at sea, as a sign of respect and welcome. In Northern Ireland Royal Gun Salutes are usually held at Hillsborough Castle but refurbishment works there dictated a change of venue and  Antrim Castle Gardens was selected as an alternative location, enabling the event to be opened to the public who were able to witness this unique event whilst basking in Spring sunshine.

Pictured below joining in the celebrations alongside Athene Gordon, Regional Employer Engagement Director with Defence Relationship Management, are (left) Alan Moore,  Director of Strategic Capital Development within the Western Health and Social Care Trust and  Professor Peter McBride, Group Chief Executive, Inspire.

Pictured below taking a closer look at one of the field guns used in the ceremony are, from left, Catherine Taylor, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust; Fiona Devlin, Chair of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Northern Ireland Board; Paula Grant,  Service Manager (Fractures) Royal Victoria Hospital; Professor Martin  Bradley,  Honorary Colonel 204 (North Irish) Field Hospital; Charlotte McArdle, Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Ireland; George Chesney, Chairman of the Reserve Forces & Cadets Association Northern Ireland and Linsey Sheerin, Clinical Co-ordinator, RVH Emergency Department and Assessment Unit.

Welcoming the celebration to Antrim, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Hamill commented “It is a privilege to host this event in our Borough and it is fantastic to see so many members of the public here today witnessing this spectacle.”

Defence Relationship Management, which works through the Reserve Forces & Cadets Association in Northern Ireland to support the relationship between employers and Reservists, invited guests from the worlds of business, medicine and education to share in the occasion.

Athene Gordon, Regional Employer Engagement Director, said, “We were delighted to be in such a fabulous location for The Royal Salute, and we used the occasion to bring employers and influencers up to date about the vast array of independently-accredited training currently available to Reservists, notably but not exclusively within the sphere of medicine.  We also spoke of the value which a highly focused, self-motivated, physically fit Reservist can bring to the civilian workplace.

“The support which many businesses and organisations already give to Reservists in their employ is genuinely appreciated and their input is important to us in helping to shape mutually beneficial partnerships for the future.”