The Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar has hailed its strong links with Mid and East Antrim almost eight decades after his grandfather fled to the Borough at the height of World War Two.
During a meeting with Mid and East Antrim Alderman Tommy Nicholl MBE, Dr Joseph Garcia spoke of the long tradition of co-operation between Gibraltar and Northern Ireland.
In particular, he noted the welcoming of approximately 2,000 Gibraltarian evacuees to Ballymena in the 1940s.
They were housed in specially built camps on the outskirts of the town.
Ald Nicholl said: “It was wonderful to meet with Dr Garcia and discuss our shared history, as well as looking forward to the future and how we can continue to build on our strong relationship.
“I was Mayor of Ballymena when the town was twinned with Gibraltar back in 2006 and we have shared a special relationship dating back decades.
“Dr Garcia and I talked at some length about Ballymena and Mid and East Antrim.
“His grandfather spent time in Broughshane during the Second World War and that was something Dr Garcia was very thankful for.
“He and the Gibraltarian people have not forgotten that and I look forward to continuing and building on our partnership in the years ahead.”
Last May it was revealed that plans were being drawn up for a memorial to those who left Gibraltar for Ballymena during the war.
The move was the result of a project led by Ballymena Lions Club.