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 Island Representatives to Attend Gardens Opening for Joey Dunlop

TOURISM and Leisure Minister David Cretney and TT radio commentator Peter Kneale will attend the opening of the Joey Dunlop Memorial Garden in Joey's hometown of Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, on Friday. Mr Cretney has been asked to plant a tree in the garden as a mark of the strong links between the town and the Isle of Man, and has chosen a Mountain Ash, as Joey is often referred to as the King of the Mountain.

Joey died on July 2 last year at a road race in Estonia, just weeks after completing a hat-trick of victories at the TT, taking his tally of wins to 26.

The minister said: 'We have a strong bond with Northern Ireland in terms of real road racing and I went out of my way to build upon the goodwill between the two communities at that time. I am honoured to have been asked on behalf of the people of the Isle of Man to once again play a part in cementing these bonds.'

Mr Cretney read a lesson at Joey's funeral service and along with Mr Kneale established a fund to assist the motorcycle legend's widow, Linda, and their children.

A lap of honour around the mountain circuit in Joey's memory was also organised during the Manx Grand Prix last year, with around 6,000 bikes taking part, and there were plans for a similar lap for this year's TT but it was cancelled along with the races.

Mr Cretney has also announced a number of other initiatives which will honour Joey.

He said: 'We also produced a special Joey Dunlop official commemorative badge at that time and I am delighted to say we are producing a new one which will be available soon. The proceeds of the badge will go to the Joey Dunlop Injured Riders Fund (IoM), an organisation I have worked closely with.

'I am also delighted that the Isle of Man Post Office stamps have been so successful after arranging for Dot Tilbury from the post office to meet Linda and her family last year. Other initiatives currently being progressed are a treasury coin issue for Joey, again with the proceeds aimed towards the injured riders fund, and a lift to enable access for people with a disability to the Grandstand, something I feel strongly about.'

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