A leading member of Millbrook Community Association has retired after more than 30 years’ commitment.
Elma McCalmont has stepped down from her post as secretary.
In recognition of her contribution, a room at Millbrook Community Centre has been named in her honour. It was unveiled at a surprise party held at the centre recently to mark her retirement.
Millbrook Community Centre is just one project which Elma has worked tirelessly to achieve.
Her involvement began in 1980 as an ACE scheme worker when she set up groups for pensioners, mothers and toddlers and those unemployed in the district.
These groups met in the hall of a previous community centre of which which she was a committee member.
However, it was not until 2004 that the idea of a replacement facility began to take shape.
With help from the North Antrim Community Network, the management committee began to look at the possibility of a new building.
Determined that the initiative would proceed, Elma rolled up her sleeves and set about the task of raising £12,500 in just 12 months.
The committee decided on a “buy a brick” scheme and she was delighted by the response locally.
“It was amazing. The person who bought the first brick gave us £1,000. I would like to thank everyone who bought into it. They are part of it and they belong to it.
“We were so delighted when the hall opened in 2009. It is used every day.”
Elma’s daughter Shirley runs Brookies Corner, an after-school club with Elma as a member of the management committee.
Elma runs the Silver Circle group for senior citizens which meets every Tuesday. She is also a member of Millbrook WI.
Such was her involvement in the community association, as secretary and former chairperson, that she was nominated to Larne council as “Volunteer of the Year” and as winner, she had the honour of opening the refurbished Larne Town Hall.
“I am overwhelmed by the support I have been given. The support from people has been wonderful. I have loved it, the networking and the contacts I have made.”
Elma paid tribute to her colleagues on the association saying: “It has been hard work but you learn from mistakes and get on with it. I could not have done it without the support of the committee.
“Without it, you are nothing.”
She went on to say that the association is now working on a five-year plan for Millbrook.
“We have got a youth shelter and want to have a sports area, allotment, a feature and signage. This is an ongoing project and I look forward to seeing this completed.”
Paying tribute to Mrs. McCalmont, Councillor Gregg McKeen, chairman of Millbrook Community Association, said: “Elma has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years for the benefit of people in Millbrook. I want to wish her well in her retirement and thank her for all the work she has done. She is well-respected by the whole community, not just in Millbrook.
“That is why we held the night to say a big thank-you for the effort and commitment she has shown to the community.
“Elma will be sorely missed, but she has left a legacy for us to build on.”