Ballymena gives go-ahead to twin with Gibraltar

Ballymena councillors have agreed to push ahead with plans to 'twin' with Gibraltar, with which it has historic links dating back to the Second World War.

Ballymena is in Northern Ireland. During the evacuation of civilians from Gibraltar in 1943, many of the evacuees were housed in specially built camps near Ballymena, where they lived for several years and some met and married local people.

The Gibraltar government's official representative in the United Kingdom, Albert Poggio, was born in the Ballymena camps near Slemish mountain.

Ballymena Council's cultural services manager William Young, along with a council group which included Ballymena mayor Tommy Nicholl (DUP), met Mr Poggio recently.

And he confirmed Gibraltar's strong wish to twin with Ballymena, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Young said: "Ballymena would do well to develop its European and global awareness, for the greater good of its citizens."

Mr Young said people like Mr Poggio have returned to Co Antrim for tours of the camps "and have given emotional expression to their strong sense of appreciation of mid-Antrim."

A working group will now be established and will work with Gibraltar on compiling their links and funding packages.