‘Birthday Drive-By’ as Braidside Integrated Primary School determined not to allow pandemic to beat their 30th anniversary celebrations

Principal Julie McAuley at Sunday's event. Picture: Ballymena Daily.

A BALLYMENA primary school was determined not to let plans to celebrate their 30th anniversary be beaten by the coronavirus pandemic so on Sunday they held a ‘Birthday Drive-By’.


Staff at Braidside Integrated Primary School handed out ‘party bags’ to their pupils.

Pupils waved to and said hello to teachers through car windows.

Balloons were hanging up outside the school at Frys Road and 80s music – the school opened in 1989 – was played.

The anniversary marks the 30th anniversary of the first school year in 1989-1990.

The pandemic had already impacted on the school moving to their new premises at Easter so this time round they were determined not to be beaten!

Principal Julie McAuley told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “We were scheduled to move into our new school here in April. Obviously that didn’t happen and we are also celebrating our 30th anniversary year and a lot of our plans got shelved.

“We couldn’t let the year end negatively, we wanted to have a positive end to the school year.

“We wanted to have an opportunity to see the children again before the school ended and we wanted to give out little gift bags to all the children on the 30th anniversary because during the summer we are going to move into the new school and the old school will be demolished.”

The format was that pupils and their parents would pull vehicles into a layby beside four tables but they also had tables for families who were walking.

Added Ms McAuley: “We had originally scheduled an 80s disco because obviously the school opened in 1989 so all the music you hear today is 80s music.”

The finishing touches are being put on the new school.


The school’s website said: ‘You will know that we had planned a range of activities for this the 30th Birthday year of Braidside. We had expected that the year would culminate with the move into our new school and a birthday party in the new premises.

‘Unfortunately, this was not to be, but we could not let this year end without some recognition of this important milestone.

‘And so we wish to invite you to “BIPS 30th Birthday Drive-By”!! – taking place on Sunday 21st June outside the school (both old and new!). We will post full guidance, directions and times for everyone participating later this week and we hope as many as possible will be able to drive-by.


‘Each current pupil will receive a party bag from a member of staff, while others will be lined up (applying social distancing measures) to wave and greet our Braidside community.

‘We have been planning this event for a few weeks now, taking all necessary health and safety precautions and we look forward to ending 2019/20 positively. We encourage you make posters for your car, display your Braidside jumper/ hoodie with pride and join in the fun!

‘During the summer, we will move into our new school and the next academic year will truly have a bright, new beginning! So let’s celebrate 30 wonderful years of Braidside and let’s look forward to the next – Building together for our future!’


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