A Swedish man who has a special connection with a certain East Antrim town has paid tribute to the “friendly and kind” people of the borough.
As reported in the Times, it was Larne Wallisson’s lifetime ambition to visit his “home town” of Larne – a dream which he realised last month.
The freelance sports journalist, who lives in a village near Malmo, came to the borough with his wife, Sol-Britt, to mark his 65th birthday.
During his visit, Larne was hosted by Mayor Martin Wilson in the Town Hall, where he was presented with a plaque to commemorate his trip.
Larne told the Times: “It was so friendly and the people of Larne were so kind, including mayor Martin Wilson.
“We bought some souvenirs connected to Larne, and then we explored the town. I went in to Brian A. Todd & Co estate agents, as it had signs saying ‘We Love Larne’ in the window.
“I told a woman who worked there my story and she surprised me by giving me some chocolate because of my birthday; so generous.
“After that, we found Checkers Wine Bar, where we had some drinks, relaxed and enjoyed the day.”
Larne also travelled up the world-famous Coast Road and spent some time in Carnlough, where he visited Cranny Falls and the Londonderry Arms Hotel.
“The trip along the coast was wonderful and we saw some beautiful sights,” he added.
“Our impression of Northern Ireland and Larne is: great country, nice town and lovely people. All them were so friendly and really took their time to talk and help.”
Larne is a rare name in Sweden, and the connection with the town is purely coincidental.
He explained: “From what I have learned, there are only nine men with the name Larne in Sweden.
“My mother picked the name after she meet someone called Larne on a trip. She said to herself that if she ever had a son, she would name him Larne.”
Larne is now telling his neighbours and friends in Sweden to visit his namesake.
And he is adamant that he will return to the town one day.
“I will come back for sure, but will do it in the summer when there is more daylight and then I hopefully can spend more then a couple of hours in ‘my town’,” Larne concluded.