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Ballycastle celebrates Honorary Quidditch Town Status

Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Mark Fielding accepts the decorative banner with Cross and Passion College pupils Áine and Oisin Franey.

Ballycastle was recognised as an Honorary Quidditch Town on October 5 in celebration of the new book, Quidditch Through The Ages Illustrated Edition, an essential companion to the Harry Potter series and guide on the wizard’s favourite sport.

To mark the release of Quidditch Through The Ages Illustrated Edition, written by J.K Rowling and illustrated by Emily Gravett, Bloomsbury Publishing presented the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Mark Fielding, with a decorative banner featuring gold Quidditch hoops celebrating the town’s fictitious Quidditch team, Ballycastle Bats.

Ballycastle Bats feature in the wizarding world’s Quidditch league and the banner also bears the town’s Quidditch team crest, a striking design with a red bat in-front of a fortified tower.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Alderman Mark Fielding, was pictured next to the banner in an outdoor, socially distanced presentation with two young Harry Potter fans on Ballycastle Beach, a beautiful beach stretching from Ballycastle Marina at the western end to Pans Rock in the east.

During the official presentation, the young Harry Potter fans celebrated on their Nimbus 2000 broomsticks with breath taking views out to sea.

Over the next three days, Honorary Quidditch Town presentations will continue safely and in line with government guidelines across the UK and Ireland. The ceremonies are being held at prehistoric sites, stone circles, medieval castles, Roman forts and churches, celebrating the release of Quidditch Through The Ages and the real-life towns represented by Quidditch teams in the Harry Potter series.

In these challenging times, people planning a visit to Ballycastle or any of the Honorary Quidditch Towns should check the guidelines and rules of the government, local authorities and specific tourism attraction before making the trip.

Other scenes of celebration took place today at South Stack on Holy Island (Holyhead Harpies), Anglesey’s most westerly point; Pendennis Castle (Falmouth Falcons), a medieval artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII; and Montrose Basin (Montrose Magipies), an enclosed estuary home to over 80,000 migratory birds.

In total, 11 towns and villages across the UK and Ireland, from Appleby to Wigtown, Falmouth to Wimborne, are being honored in celebration of the new book, Quidditch Through The Ages Illustrated Edition, an essential companion to the Harry Potter series and guide on the wizard’s favourite sport.

A spokesperson from Bloomsbury Publishing said: ‘We’re really proud to recognise Ballycastle as an Honorary Quidditch Town alongside 10 other towns and villages across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Quidditch captured the imaginations of children and adults across the world, and the new book Quidditch Through the Ages, beautifully illustrated by Emily Gravett, is a magical companion for those who want to immerse themselves in the wizarding world of Harry Potter.”

‘Harry Potter fans can now unearth the real-life towns and villages inspiring the names of Quidditch teams and we ask anyone planning a visit to Ballycastle to first check national and local travel guidance on coronavirus to ensure their visit is made safely. For communities that are currently experiencing stricter measures, we encourage people to support their favourite Quidditch team virtually by visiting the official Harry Potter fan club, Wizarding World.’

Mayor Fielding said: “We’re delighted to be recognised as an Honorary Quidditch Town. Harry Potter’s favourite sport Quidditch brings joy to children and adults across the world, and this decorative banner, emblazoned with the town’s team colours, shows our support for our beloved Quidditch team.”

The 11 honorary Quidditch towns receiving the banners are: Appleby (Appleby Arrows),
Ballycastle (Ballycastle Bats), Caerphilly (Caerphilly Catapults)*, Falmouth (Falmouth Falcons), Holyhead (Holyhead Harpies), Kenmare (Kenmare Kestrels), Montrose (Montrose Magpies), Portree (Pride of Portree), Tutshill (Tutshill Tornados), Wigtown (Wigtown Wanderers) and Wimborne (Wimborne Wasps).
*Due to the local lockdown in Caerphilly, the town and community will be awarded its Honorary Quidditch Town status at a later date when the restrictive measures are lifted and the presentation can be conducted safely.

Quidditch Through the Ages Illustrated Edition, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Emily Gravett, is published in hardback on 6th October 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing, in aid of Comic Relief and Lumos.

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