The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

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Gerald Lawrence
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Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:48 am
Location: Kenilworth, UK

The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Gerald Lawrence »

Following strenuous efforts, initially by Bernie and more lately Billy Dickson, it has finally been agreed that some kind of memorial will be erected on the Village Green, together with some ceremonies. These will take place on the green between 3 pm and 5 pm on Friday the 24th November. We don't have any details just yet.

You will recall that under recent housing developments that have taken place, the new village green was created near the place where Ruby was born and where she lived the first part of her life. Sadly the houses that she lived in have been demolished to make way for the new housing.

I have spoken with Bernie and unfortunately he is not well enough to make the journey, so I am pleased to say that I have my flights and accommodation booked so that I can be there. I have also notified Julie, Ruby's and Bernie's daughter, about the forthcoming plans, but she is not sure of being able to get there at the moment.
Gerald

Gerald Lawrence
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Location: Kenilworth, UK

Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Gerald Lawrence »

I have had a telephone call today (Bernie's 95th Birthday!) from Julie and she has told me that she is planning to attend the Village Green naming ceremony on the 24th November.

More details later when I have them.
Gerald

Gerald Lawrence
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Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Gerald Lawrence »

I am pleased to say that on Friday the 24th November 2023 both Julie and I were able to attend the naming ceremony, or "The Ruby Murray Village Green Launch" as it was known locally. Also in attendance were two of Julie's "cousins" both relatives of Ruby by marriage. Many thanks are due to Billy Dickson and his colleagues for organising it so well.

Timmer and I are now in the process of redesigning this website to include the photographs that I was able to take, so watch this space! In the meantime, here is a description of what went on.

I was stopping the weekend in Bangor ("It's Six Miles from Bangor to Donaghadee") so went up to Belfast city by train, getting off at the City Hospital stop on the Donegall Road. I then walked along to the place where the Blue Plaque was erected to check that it was all in good order - it was nice and clean! I walked on to Moltke Street and the one next to it, Nubia Street, to find the St Simon's Community Hub where the reception was to take place, and then on to the village green itself. It is basically a rectangular shape with four entrances, two on Moltke Street and two on the other side of the green. All four are clearly labelled "Welcome to the Ruby Murray Village Green". At the bottom end there is a building occupying about half of the green and the other half forms a small rectangle of grass, closed by the fence on three sides and open to the rest of the green on the fourth. I was delighted to find that on the side of the building is a very large portrait of Ruby, with her name in large letters across the top, and made up of a mosaic of children's faces from a nearby school. While taking photographs of the mosaic, three teenage young men arrived and one of them pointed to a child and said "That's me there!"

I then moved to the community hub, and was first to arrive. Two young lady assistants told me to help myself to coffee and scones while they finished setting up a three-part screen with lots of photographs pinned to it. Then a lady arrived and came over to ask who I was and to tell me that she was a distant relative of Ruby - her name is Kelly Smiley and she is a singer. She set up her electrical equipment and proceeded to sing me her version of "Softly, Softly", then moved on to many other songs of the 50s and 60s.

People were now gathering at the hall, and Julie arrived. I guess we were about 20 people all together, and soon we went outside back to the mosaic area of the green. This was a hive of activity with about another 20 people standing there. Some adults had peeled back the turf under the mosaic and about a dozen children were filling the open soil with crocus bulbs. A lady told me that they were all different colours, and should come up through the turf next Spring.

There had also been planted a tree along another edge of the quiet area, and Julie was to add some soil to the planting, the way the Queen used to do at some of her official events. After this, and a few short speeches, I was invited to do the same. Looking around, it appeared to me that I was the only one there who was alive in 1954 when Ruby first appeared on BBC TV in "Quite Contrary", thus starting her fantastic career. So I made a very short speech about doing this for all the Ruby fans around the world. Thinking back to being a young lad of 14 years of age, I felt quite emotional. Even more so when I had the thought that while this was not Ruby's final resting place, the little enclosed quiet area with the mosaic, the tree, the grass and the crocus bulbs forms a truly wonderful memorial to such a fine singer. And it is located very, very close to the house in 84 Moltke Street where she was born.

All the adults and children then went back to the hall and spent the rest of the time chatting, and listening to Kelly singing and trying to encourage us to get up and dance! I would guess there were about 50 people there by this time.

So the end of a perfect day. Our thanks should go firstly to Bernie, who way back had the idea of naming the park that was planned for the area. I have been to see him and show him the photographs and although he is sadly quite disabled these days he still has all his mental ability to understand what I was telling him.

And then many thanks to Billy Dickson for his untiring work to get the local council to agree to the name, and for organising the Launch of The Ruby Murray Village Green in association with Eleanor Jordan from the Windsor Women’s Centre.
Gerald

Graham Bunn
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 5:17 am

Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Graham Bunn »

Hello Gerald sounds like it was a perfect day,a fitting tribute to a wonderful person......So pleased that Julie and other members of Ruby's family were able to attend.
Thank you for this update
Take care.
Graham

Gerald Lawrence
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Location: Kenilworth, UK

Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Gerald Lawrence »

Good to hear from you again Graham - thank you for your comments. Yes it was an amazing day, and I was so pleased to be able to be there and let the residents know that there is still (some) interest in Belfast's famous singer.

I am sure you will enjoy the photographs and video just as soon as Timmer and I have worked out how to get them onto this website.

By the way, are you getting any problems with certain parts of the Library, or is it just me? Some areas on the list work fine, but some bring up an error message for me.
Gerald

Graham Bunn
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Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Graham Bunn »

Hello Gerald,
Yes there does seem to be a problem as certain areas come up forbidden
Graham

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Timmer
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Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Timmer »

Thank you for reporting the issue, Graham. I am investigating.

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Timmer
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Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Timmer »

A new web page for the Village Green naming ceremony has been created. It's not pretty yet, but all of the video and pictures should be there. It's a work in progress.

https://www.rubymurray.org/village-green.html

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Timmer
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Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Timmer »

Graham, the issue you reported should now be fixed. Thanks!

Gerald Lawrence
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Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2005 2:48 am
Location: Kenilworth, UK

Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Gerald Lawrence »

Thank you very much Timmer for the new page and for fixing the library, both in time for Christmas 🙂
Gerald

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Timmer
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Re: The Ruby Murray Village Green Ceremony

Post by Timmer »

My pleasure. The page needs some flair, but all the links should work. :)

🎄

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