Belfast Community Circus School Rebrands To Circusful

Following almost two years of intensive consultation and evaluation Belfast  Community Circus School has today rebranded to become Circusful.

Launching their new website and brand today November 30th, chief executive Jenna Hall said it is an “important and exciting moment” for the charity.

The organisation has been in operation since 1985, offering training, workshops, classes, performances and more. The team work in and with communities right across Northern Ireland and have brought many thousands of people through its doors in Gordon Street in the city’s Cathedral Quarter.

Set up by Donal McKendry and the late Mike Moloney, and taken forward by the late Will Chamberlain, the rebrand comes as part of a larger strategic review of the whole organisation and associated companies. During the time Will Chamberlain led the Circus School he secured the building in Gordon Street and established two associated companies, Premiere Circus, a professional performance agency and Festival of Fools, a May Bank Holiday weekend favourite and the largest festival of its type on the island of Ireland. 

Now known as Circusful, the charity have also revealed their renewed mission, vision and values which Jenna said include and embed the core ethos and values of why the organisation was set up 35 years ago. 

She added: “We are absolutely committed to building on all that has gone before. During the rebrand we reviewed all aspects of the work we do and have done. The circus school has grown substantially over the years and it was important to make sure that how we operate, look and what we are called keeps up with this growth. We hope the new website,, captures both what has been achieved before and what is to come.

“We have invested heavily in the process of consultation with our stakeholders, staff, volunteers, attendees, parents and wider circus family, their voices are really important to us.

“A key part of the strategy is to celebrate and retain the original ethos of the circus school as founded and to build upon that. We are doing more outreach work than ever, with over 1,300 children engaged since April alone and work with hundreds more in central Belfast each week.” 

Going forward, Circusful will incorporate the work of Belfast Community Circus School and its agency arm Premiere Circus, whilst Festival of Fools will remain a separate entity, its connection to Circusful will be clear.  

Jenna added: “It is our mission to support people of all ages and abilities to surprise themselves through circus. We meet people where they are, have fun and create a community together.

“We want to continue to enrich people’s lives through circus experiences, create curiosity and help people feel part of a community. We know our work provides people with the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to thrive in the 21st Century. 

“We believe the new brand and vision will embody this, retaining all the magic of the circus but conveying much more clearly what we are about and how positively we impact lives across Northern Ireland and further afield. 

“As a result of the new strategy, Circusful is planning to re-start its world-wide exchange programmes in 2022. These provide opportunities for young people from Northern Ireland to learn new skills, travel the world and create new connections within the international circus family. The new merchandise available to buy on the website will help raise vital funds for our charity.

“Our new values will ensure we remain curious, playful and persistent, we will always collaborate, put our circus family first and share leadership across the team and those we work with.” 

Gilly Campbell, Head of Community Arts and Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Congratulations to the team at Circusful on this exciting new chapter.  

“Since it opened its doors in 1985, this company has gone from strength to strength, bringing awe-inspiring circus to the streets to be enjoyed by thousands of people, as well as offering vital professional development opportunities for the next generation of circus artists. 

“The work of Belfast Community Circus, now Circusful, truly demonstrates the value of the arts in bringing people and communities closer together, inspiring us all through a shared love of creativity, culture and the Arts.” 

Studio Texture, a small London based brand agency specialise in strategic brand and campaign projects with not for profits. They worked extensively with the steering group which was made up of performers, trainers, parents, staff and trustees. 

Circusful have also worked closely with Ronan Lunney of Belfast based graphic design studio, TwoDigs, who built the new website. The copy was written by Laura Haydon, who has been connected with the circus family since the early 1990s. 

Jenna said “Ensuring an ongoing and deep connection with those who’ve been involved in our work from the very beginning is really important to us and to our future success.”

For more information about Circusful go to 

Christmas Shows & Gift Ideas from Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

To make Christmas memorable this festive season, enjoy a trip to Armagh Observatory and Planetarium to experience one of its out-of-this-world Dome Shows.

Experience the festive and captivating Dome Show, “Mystery of the Christmas Star”, which takes you on a journey back over 2000 years to Bethlehem, in a bid to discover a scientific explanation for the star the wise men followed to find baby Jesus. This modern retelling of the Christmas story is a truly magical show to be enjoyed by all ages. It is shown week days and weekends from 20th November – 23rd December.

For the music lovers, enjoy the hits of one of the greatest bands, U2 -The full Dome Music Experience. This is the first ever full dome production featuring U2’s timeless classics and modern hits. Songs including, “Where the Streets Have No Name”, “With or Without You”, “Beautiful Day”, “Mysterious Ways” and many more, will be played alongside full graphics dome sequences. You have heard the band, now you can see the music like never before! The show is 2nd , 9th & 16th December. Tickets are £12 per person.

If U2 isn’t your thing, why not go for the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Music Experience. Inspired by the music of Pink Floyd, this dome spectacular features the 1973 album The Dark Side of the Moon in explosive surround sound. With spellbinding abstract projections on the dome, audiences will be surrounded to create a truly astonishing experience. The show is 2nd , 9th, 16th  & 30th December. Tickets are £12 per person.

All Dome Shows are showcased in the Planetarium, utilising state of the art Digistar 7 projection technology, in an immersive 360-degree screening.


Do you want to show someone you love them to the moon and back!? Armagh Observatory & Planetarium offer gift vouchers for as hassle-free gift experience this festive season.

Choose a monetary voucher that can be used for any experience, Dome Show or to buy a treat in the gift shop. Alternatively, you can opt for a ‘family’ gift voucher that can be redeemed by your recipient to enjoy an out of this world family trip to the Planetarium.

Gift vouchers and tickets to all shows can be purchased online at Alternatively, you can call the box office on 02837 523689.

Join Santa’s Lidl Helpers to Build an Elf in aid of NSPCC Northern Ireland

Lidl Elf Factory pops up at Newtownards Store, Castlebawn Roundabout, on Saturday 11 December to raise funds for charity partner NSPCC Northern Ireland

Thursday 25th November: The most wonderful time of the year is upon us and Lidl Northern Ireland is inviting parents and children to join Santa’s Lidl Helpers at the Lidl Newtownards Store at Castlebawn Roundabout to Build an Elf on Saturday, 11th December.

The Christmas cheer filled Lidl Elf Factory will be popping up instore for one day only, with 100% of the proceeds from the ticket sales donated to Lidl Northern Ireland’s charity partner, NSPCC Northern Ireland. Tickets cost £10 per child and must be purchased in advance on

The tour of the Lidl Elf factory lasts for approximately 45 minutes and each child will get to: build and name their own elf, create a tree decoration and most importantly, write and post their letters to Santa Claus. Finally, children and their families can indulge in some hot chocolate and festive bites before taking their creations and some additional treats home.

Tickets are limited, please book early to avoid disappointment, and ensure you get your preferred time slot. All proceeds from the ticket sales will go straight to Lidl Northern Ireland’s charity partner, NSPCC Northern Ireland.

The elves are doing everything they can to keep the experience safe for visitors, so booking is essential. Tickets to the Elf Factory are available to book via the online booking system only, tickets are not for sale in store. Visitors are asked to adhere to Government guidelines in the Elf Factory.

In a partnership spanning four years, Lidl Northern Ireland has raised over £500,000 for NSPCC Northern Ireland, whose mission is to fight for every childhood, delivering services for children and operating Childline bases in Belfast and Foyle. NSPCC Northern Ireland supports children across the region and works to prevent abuse, help rebuild children’s lives and support families.

For more information on Lidl Northern Ireland’s charity partnerships visit or to book tickets for the Lidl Elf Factory please visit


Vallely at 80’ is a major retrospective by international and award-winning artist JB Vallely. The artist will revisit drawings and oil paintings spanning almost 63 years as well as showcase new work completed during his 80th year.

This is Vallely’s most extensive solo exhibition since his major retrospective at the Market Place Gallery, in his birth city of Armagh in 2000. This exhibition includes his collection on display in the Archbishop’s Palace, Armagh that covers most of Vallely’s life as a painter, along with his collection of religious pieces on permanent display at Benburb Priory, dating from the early to mid-1960’s.

Valley’s subject matter depicts rural Irish themes, including its strong traditions of which he is passionate about on a personal level. Music, sport, mythology, history and culture feature predominantly in his paintings. He has produced a vast number of pieces over his career, exhibiting regularly at galleries in Belfast, Dublin, Derry and Armagh with additional exhibitions in Italy, Wexford, London, Scotland and Galway.

‘Vallely at 80’ can be viewed at the three locations across Armagh, with new works and the artist’s private collection on display at the Market Place Gallery.

Entry to the exhibition is free, and the works will be on display from 20 November 2021 until 15 January 2022. Further information is available from the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at

Join the National Trust for festive fun this Christmas

The trees are going up, lights are being switched on and presents are being wrapped, all signs that Christmas isn’t far away. It’s time to get into the festive spirit – and there’s no better way than visiting National Trust places all decked out for the season.

Christmas at The Argory

See historic houses decorated in the style of Christmases gone by, stroll through frosty winter gardens, discover festive crafts to try at home, and tuck into delicious seasonal treats.

For little ones there will also be a special Percy the Park Keeper winter trail at five National Trust places, so they can enjoy the great outdoors inspired by some of Nick Butterworth’s most beloved characters.

After all that, warm yourself with the knowledge that each festive day out supports the National Trust’s work as a charity looking after special places for future generations to enjoy.

Historic houses dressed for Christmas

Step inside Castle Ward and experience the Mansion house dressed for an evocative eighteenth-century Christmas. Experience the rooms dressed for Christmas just as the Georgians did with atmospheric lighting, halls wreathed in traditional colourful garlands, and the dining table filled with festive fayre. Then descend the servants’ stairs to the basement where you will find the preparations for Christmas well under way.

Unwrap a classic Christmas with festive experiences at The Argory as you step back in time to a Christmas of yesteryear. See the house dressed for a traditional Christmas. Trees, trinkets and garlands will decorate the rooms and the dining room table will be set for a celebratory festive feast. Experience what life was like for the MacGeough Bond family and their servants as they prepare for the festive period in the 1800’s.

At Mount Stewart, the fire will be lit as the house prepares for the festive season. Step back in time and bask in the gentle glow of the twinkling lights on the traditional Christmas tree as you walk around the house accompanied by the gentle sound of carols. Afterwards, enjoy a festive mince pie in the tea-room and be sure to stop off at the shop for some sustainable Christmas gifts and décor.

Percy the Park Keeper winter trail

Running from 4 December at Florence Court, The Argory, Mount Stewart, Castle Ward and Rowallane Garden, the self-led trail will invite families to join Percy’s team as he races to get the gardens and the animals that call it home ready for winter.

© Nick Butterworth 2021

After reading Percy’s handwritten note and donning his famous hat families will follow clues, find Percy’s missing equipment, and enjoy activities and games as they complete the trail.

Highlights of the winter wander include helping to keep things tidy for when the springtime shoots appear, building dens, weather watching and surveying to find out which animals call the grounds their home.

At the end of the trail families can celebrate with a photo-op with Percy and they’ll get a special prize too. £2 per trail, normal admission applies.

Please check opening times before visiting at 

Maghera Mum Turns Storytime For Kids Into Publishing Business

Yvonne Fleming, The Weatherbies founder

I’d better start writing down the bedtime stories – and The Weatherbies were born

When Maghera mum, Yvonne Fleming, began to tell her two children night-time tales, little did she know that she would end up with a series of books, animations and a potential TV deal all based on her Weatherbies characters.

Yvonne was encouraged to make her idea of the Weatherbies characters into a career after her husband Peter overheard the stories.

“He was walking past the bedroom door and heard me telling the story,” Yvonne explained.

“He listened for a while and then when I came downstairs, he said he thought it had potential. His background is in the music industry, for years he has been writing and creating music.

“I started writing stories and songs, and then Peter would write and record the music for them.

“I’d have been putting my kids to bed and would have read them a story,” she said. 

“If I was tired, I would have made up my own stories about The Weatherbies.”

“They kept asking me for these stories and I couldn’t remember what I’d said two nights back, so I thought I’d better start writing them down.”

Now her children are grown up she still runs ideas past them, but she is also dealing with publishing deals and working with Peter Rabbit script writer, Jodi Reynolds, as well as UK production company, Threewise, with the potential to have a 52-week series of Weatherbies TV programmes.

The first time she read her stories beyond the walls of her home was to a very special focus group.

“The very first time I went into a school was my wee boy’s P1 class about 12 years ago,” Yvonne said. 

“They had invited the parents in to read a book. I had said to the teacher what book am I going to read, and she told me to read my own.

“I went in thinking I was going to be in the school fifteen minutes or so. I was in that P1 class for two hours and then it was lunchtime. 

“The other P1 teacher came in and said, ‘you do know you’re coming into me after lunch’. I was in the school nearly a whole day talking to the kids and reading some of my stories without a lot of artwork and they all loved it.”

All the Weatherbies stories are based around a group of weather-themed characters who live in Skytown including Sammy Sun, Rosie Rainbow, Colin Cloud, Flo Snow, Ronny Rain, Willy Wind and many more. As well as being a fun set of stories, there is also learning for the target age range within Key Stage One and timely environmental messages.

“Children are like sponges and sometimes people underestimate the knowledge a child has and their ability to retain information and understand it better than some adults,” she explained. 

“There have always been environment issues, but it is now at a stage where it can no longer be ignored and needs to be addressed.

“For me it has always been very important, and I’ve always taught my kids the importance of recycling and not wasting electricity – teaching them to do their bit. If kids are more aware of how their actions can affect the environment, they can adopt a more sustainable lifestyle at an early age”

As well as the environmental messages, the Weatherbies also help children learn about the different forms of weather and their characteristics and roles. 

“Our Colin Cloud Is Making Shapes book is a fun story about the cloud changing shapes but also educates children about the water cycle,” said Yvonne. 

“It helps the kids to understand the importance the water cycle has in keeping the plants and forests alive.”

She has incorporated all the eco-messages into Skytown.

“The eco-friendly community of Skytown all do their bit in sustaining the environment. They do this by using renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, while also recycling their rubbish.” 

Yvonne believes that no matter the age of children they can take on board the positive messages from the Weatherbies.

With the help of her husband, songs have been developed to accompany the books, although Yvonne confesses that she had to get a singer to record them as she isn’t a great singer herself. 

Yvonne has been determined to see her books grow and flourish into other media such as animations and online content, looking back at how far the Weatherbies has come since the first self-published book “Sammy Sun Is Coming Out To Play” motivates Yvonne to keep moving forward on her Weatherbies journey.

“We self-published that as our first book,” she said, adding: “it did well and then six months later we published Rosie Rainbow’s Recycling Day and we got a good response.

“We went to the London Book Fair, where we met Tiny Tree Children’s Books and they published our third book – Colin Cloud Is Making Shapes.

“We’re also exploring animation. We have developed an animation pilot with Flickerpix Animation Studios, which has led us to work with Michael Ford.

“Michael Ford from Threewise Productions is working with me to build a team of professionals in this industry to help further develop the Weatherbies for animation” 

That’s when Michael Ford’s network paid dividends for Yvonne.

“He sent my work out to five or six writers to see if they were interested, ” she said.

“Jodie Reynolds had come back and said she thought it was a phenomenal, very strong concept.

“She said sometimes you get things sent to you and you read them and you don’t see a lot of potential – maybe one movie or maybe one series and nothing else. But she said The Weatherbies had it all. She was very excited about it and wanted me to know how strongly she felt about the project and how much she would love to work with me on it.

“I was blown away by this because you always second guess your work. So, for someone with her track record in the industry to see the potential and want to put her name to it was just amazing for me.”

Yvonne is currently working with Jodi developing scripts and creating the character and story ‘Bible’ for the series, while also working with her illustrator, James Salenga on a new Weatherbies book “Sing a Song With the Weatherbies”. However, Yvonne always keeps in mind who her audience is.

“Children are very blunt. If they like something they’ll tell you, but if they don’t like it, they’ll also tell you. I feel relieved that none of the kids have actually said they don’t enjoy it. I think it must be okay if I’m still pleasing the audience.”

To purchase the book and listen to the songs go to

Showcase event marks official opening of new outdoor adventure park at Colin Glen

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl joined guests today (23 November) at an event to showcase the city’s newest visitor attractions at Colin Glen Forest Park.

In its first four months, over 6,200 people have zoomed through the forest at speeds up to 40km per hour on the Black Bull Run, Ireland’s first and only Alpine coaster, while 2,600 thrill seekers have skimmed the treetops at speeds up to 50km per hour on The Forest Flyover, a 250m zipline.

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Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl was joined by David Raymond and Colin O’Neill from Colin Glen Trust at an event to showcase the city’s newest visitor attractions at Colin Glen Forest Park. Key attractions at the new outdoor adventure park include the 700m River Rapid zipline, the 250m Forest Flyover zipline and Ireland’s first and only Alpine coaster, the Black Bull Run. For more information, visit

Perhaps the most exciting of all the new attractions is River Rapid, Ireland’s longest zipline. The 700m zipline with its 100ft high take-off point has just been completed and will allow brave visitors to enjoy spectacular views of the city while zipping across the Colin River at speeds up to 80km per hour.

The attractions are part of a multi-million-pound investment by Belfast City Council, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Department for Communities. The new facilities are central to Colin Glen Trust’s wider plans for the 200-acre outdoor adventure park. Other elements include the recent introduction of ‘Landy Train’ to transport visitors around the park, plus future plans to open a new visitor centre, new accommodation facilities and an outdoor café.

The Lord Mayor said: “It is fantastic to visit the stunning Colin Glen Forest Park to get a proper sense of the scale and ambition of this transformative project. From the outset, Belfast City Council got behind Colin Glen Trust’s vision to transform the forest park into a thriving, world class visitor destination. As well as overseeing the delivery of the project, Council’s £2.5 million investment was crucial in getting it off the ground and in helping to secure the additional funding needed from our partners in DAERA and the Department for Communities to make it happen.

“The new attractions represent a major boost for the area. There have already been 13.25 equivalent full-time jobs created since they opened, while the adventure park will significantly expand the local tourism offering and grow the economy in this part of the city. The attractions will also contribute to the city’s wider tourism portfolio, helping us get back to, and hopefully surpass, pre-pandemic visitor numbers to Belfast in the years ahead.”

Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots said: “Through the Rural Tourism Scheme, my department invests in natural and built heritage and it is clear that the creation of visitor experiences showcasing our natural landscape, that are compelling and accessible to all, can offer long term sustainability and growth to tourism in Northern Ireland. This was a substantial Departmental investment of £1.437 million in the Colin area. Tourism is vitally important to our rural economy and I’m delighted that we have funded these world class attractions as well as the trail enhancements, the Landy Train and signage across the site, which were supported through DAERA’s TRPSI programme. 

“Colin Glen and its development provides tourists with unique visitor attractions not seen anywhere else in Northern Ireland. It is very important for people’s health and wellbeing to get outside and enjoy the natural environment, Forest Parks provide great venues for people to visit and exercise and the Covid pandemic has increased demand for such opportunities, it is therefore great to see these improved facilities at Colin Glen.”

Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey said: “Through working in collaboration with a number of partners, Colin Glen Forest Park has developed into a world class innovative attraction in West Belfast for everyone to enjoy. These impressive new facilities will provide opportunities for a wide range of citizens to participate and engage in educational, social and leisure activities, enabling them to live more active and healthy lives. I’m pleased that the investment in this state-of-the art project meets the objectives of our People and Place Strategy – to invest in neighbourhoods, to develop confident communities and to improve quality of life for all.”

Colin Glen Trust Chief Executive, Colin O’Neill said: “Colin Glen Trust is first and foremost a social enterprise, committed to the conservation of 240 acres of valuable green space in West Belfast. Our innovation and determination to ensure that the people of this area have a sustainable world class facility was something which has been supported by many groups and organisations, none greater than Belfast City Council, DAERA and Department for Communities.

“These new attractions will undoubtedly attract visitors from all over Ireland but it will also create employment and training opportunities for local people and will ensure the future sustainability of the Trust and allow us to protect and enhance Colin Glen Forest Park for the residents of this area and beyond.  We are truly grateful for the support from the Belfast City Council project team and of course the funders who conveyed genuine passion and commitment to ensuring that this project was successfully delivered.”

For more information on the new attractions at Colin Glen, visit

Belfast Mayor Celebrates Launch Of Winter Circus Programme

The award winning circus company Tumble Circus will make its return to Belfast’s Writers’ Square this Christmas.

The team at Tumble Circus are back and better than ever with their exciting Winter Circus extravaganza. 

Now in its fifth year, the event organisers said fans can expect this year’s show “to return louder and prouder than ever before”.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “Belfast City Council is delighted to support Tumble Circus to produce this family friendly event. Tina and Ken are such talented, brave artists – and their shows are magical, memorable mayhem!”

“Come on in to Belfast to enjoy Tumble Circus and the rest of our seasonal programme of events in the city – you can be sure of a warm welcome and plenty of festive fun.”

Running from December 17 to January 3 Tina Segner of Tumble Circus said: “We are delighted to be back and we’ve got an amazing show lined up this year in our fully heated Tumble Circus big top tent.

“This is a show that has something for everyone.

“Tumble Circus combines circus skills with comedy, theatre and social commentary to make people laugh, react, and act.”

The Tumble Circus Winter Circus show is a high skill, all human and all thrill performance featuring death defying aerialists and mind bending jugglers creating fun for all the family. 

“The Winter Circus shows will be spectacular with an inspiring modern soundtrack” said Ken Fanning of Tumble Circus, adding: “visitors to the big top can expect modern, high skilled acts, including acrobats, aerialists and jugglers in this one hour of hammer smashing Belfast inspired circus. 

“From international circus artists to well-known comedy characters both young and old audiences will be able to enjoy the show whilst expecting big laughs and some mighty craic.”

Tickets are limited this year so it’s advised to book early to experience the world-class acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and the unique humour that has made Tumble Circus an international award-winning modern circus company.

Winter Circus is supported by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland and Destination CQ BID

Tickets are £9-£14 + booking fee and available from, or for more information go to Family tickets are also available and group bookings (10+) can be booked by emailing

Titanic distillery plans given green light

Titanic Distillers plans approved to convert Pump-House into distillery and tourism centre

Belfast drinks company Titanic Distillers has been granted planning approval by Belfast City Council to convert the historic Titanic Pump-House into a new working whiskey distillery and world class tourist attraction.  Welcoming the good news at the Pump-house are Titanic Distillers directors (l-r) Peter Lavery, Stephen Symington, Richard Irwin and Sean Lavery.  A listed building in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the Pump-House, along with its neighbouring dry dock, first opened in 1911 and is the world’s only authentic Titanic landmark.

PLANS have been approved for the conversion of the historic Titanic Pump-House into a new whiskey distillery and world class tourist attraction.

A listed building in the heart of Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, the Pump-House, along with its neighbouring dry dock, first opened in 1911 and is the world’s only authentic Titanic landmark.

Now, Belfast drinks company Titanic Distillers has been given the green light by Belfast City Council to convert the Pump-house into a working distillery with associated visitor tour.

Included in the plans are the installation of three large stills on a mezzanine floor overlooking the original pumping engines which are situated deep in the pump-well. 

All the original pump equipment and associated internal historic features of the building will be retained and available to view as part of a visitor tour, with tourists also able to relax in the adjacent tourism centre, which will include an on-site ‘speakeasy’ bar and café with free wi-fi, gift shop, exhibition space and an enlarged mezzanine floor with tasting rooms.

Aside from restoration requirements, the exterior of the pump house would remain largely untouched under the plan but will be open for tourists to view the famous Thompson dry dock, which was built in 1911 to accommodate the massive White Star transatlantic liners Olympic and Titanic.

We are very excited that our planning application has been approved,” said Titanic Distillers Director Richard Irwin.

Titanic Distillers is inspired by the people who worked in Belfast’s shipyard more than a century ago – and now tourists will be able to walk in their footsteps in the very pump-house and dry dock that represent such an authentic part of the Titanic story and indeed the history of Belfast.

“At Titanic Distillers, we are very aware that we have a big responsibility as custodians of a hugely historic and global brand, and it is crucially important that we preserve the historical integrity of this building and its surrounds.

“The Pump-house has survived remarkably well for more than 100 years in a very harsh environment but it is in much need of repair and any further decline would represent a major risk to its future – so our first priority is to restore the building and bring it back to its former glory while maintaining and securing its long-term future,” he added.

Children’s Author Releases Debut Album To Coincide With Fourth Book Release

The well-loved Weatherbies characters created by Maghera mum Yvonne Fleming are back with an exciting new song book launching on November 12.

Sing a song with the Weatherbies, contains 13 songs for each of the characters who live in Skytown such as Sammy Sun, Colin Cloud and Rosie Rainbow as well as colourful illustrations by James Salenga.

To find the toe tapping tunes that accompany the book, parents have the option to either scan a QR code using their smartphone, or they can simply search ‘The Weatherbies’ on Spotify or Apple music.

After previously working as a hairdresser and childminder for over 20 years, mum-of-two Yvonne, started creating The Weatherbies characters to entertain the kids she was looking after.

“It all started one day when I was in the garden playing with the kids. 

“It was a lovely day, and we were looking up at the clouds and I started making up wee characters and creating stories for them. 

“My characters are weather symbols that encourage friendship, empathy, compassion and problem solving,” she said.

After some encouragement from her husband Peter, the pair joined forces to combine each of their different strengths to bring the Weatherbies stories to life and created the success that it is today.

Yvonne said her husband Peter heard her telling the stories to their two sons: “One night Peter was walking past the bedroom door and heard me telling the boys the stories. 

“When I came downstairs, he said he thought it had potential and felt I should develop it more.”

The new book is aimed at children aged 2-5 and with the help of the loveable characters, parents can educate their children on important topics such as recycling, environment, and the weather.

Song titles include The Sammy Sun Song which introduces the importance of practicing sun safety, The Colin Cloud Song which helps children understand the cloud’s role in the water cycle and The Pollutants Song that encourages children to do their bit to save the environment by not wasting power.

Each song contains vocals from Tony Kearney, Faoiltiarna Burke and Glenview Primary School choir.

To purchase the book and listen to the songs go to