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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Maurice Fitzmaurice

Shankill Community Rescue Service mural unveiled as a tribute to 'living heroes'

Heroes that live among us are celebrated in a new mural unveiled on the Shankill over the weekend.

The striking image, which features reflective colours, draws together in pictures the work of the Community Rescue Service.

The voluntary search and rescue outfit’s cross-community efforts are now bringing more than a little brightness to a gable wall on Denmark Street in the Shankill estate after months of planning.

Read more: Belfast man's special tribute after losing brother Michael Cullen to suicide

Ian McLaughlin, from the Lower Shankill Community Association, said the montage style mural had appeared thanks to a wide range of local groups “working in partnership” to “bring something positive to the area”.

He added: “Communities very often have murals representing dead heroes, but this one is about heroes who are alive and who represent the here and now. The CRS do a lot of work, on both sides of the community, helping to find missing people, sometimes vulnerable people and they are volunteers who could be working to help anyone of us today or tomorrow.

"There’s a similar mural at Northumberland Street and we wanted to replicate that here on the Shankill which shows the cross-community element of all this.”

Among the groups involved in getting the mural for Denmark Street was "political tours" firm Cab Tours Belfast.

Stephen Harper, who co-owns the firm with Isaac Swindell, said they had been involved in the Northumberland Street mural, which sits on the International Wall, so was keen to get a similar tribute to CRS on the Shankill.

He added: “When we did the mural on the International Wall people were asking soon after about getting one on the Shankill. We started making a few enquiries and spoke to Rab [at Consensus community restorative justice] who said he’d have no bother finding us a gable wall. As said it’s about celebrating the working of living heroes. They’re guys who are all volunteers and are working away with what they do going largely unnoticed so it’s nice to recognise them.”

Sean McCarry from the CRS said it was “good to see the recognition now on both sides of the community”. He added that the Cab Tours can now show what Northern Ireland’s “future is about as well as its past”.

As well as the main mural, kids from the nearby Denmark Street Community Centre painted smaller murals to support the project.

The mural was unveiled during a busy weekend for CRS. In a post on their Facebook page, the group said: “This weekend yet more lives were undoubtedly saved during our normal weekend safety patrols on the River Lagan and around the Belfast City Centre.”

A Community Rescue Service RIB on the Lagan (CRS)

The post outlined how volunteers on the patrol on the Lagan had come to the aid of a "person in distress" on Friday, while on Saturday they dealt with a person who appeared to have suffered a drug overdose in the Belfast city centre area.

Also on Saturday, Belfast Harbour Police alerted the crew to a “person in distress threatening to enter the water in the Belfast Harbour area”. Again, the person was brought to safety. A further person in distress was then dealt with, the post added.


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