A Newmills man who has cleaned over 130 road signs across rural Mid Ulster has called on people to do what they can to help their communities this festive season.
At December’s meeting of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Dominic Molloy singled out David Flanagan’s valiant efforts to make life that bit safer for rural residents and motorists who use rural roads.
Council’s Chair, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan has confirmed he will be writing to Mr Flanagan commending his efforts but speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service Mr Flanagan said he was not motivated by “self glorification” rather a desire to simply help local communities.
“I am very community focused, it has been in my DNA for years,” said David.
“As a family we just like making a difference, previously I have taken part in letter picks and all sorts.
“I am in road transport and I understand the important of clean signs. The benefits are two fold, cleaning the signs helps the place look better and keeps roads safer for both rural residents and those that are maybe not as familiar with the road.
“I am not interested in self glorification, hopefully what I am doing will spur others on to help other people and get out and do what they have to do, whether that be baking a cake for the older person down the road or whatever, just do what you can to help your community.
“If everybody does a little half hour here or there that makes a colossal difference and increases the quality of life for everyone.”
Mr Flanagan explained the decision to clean the road signs began as a result of a disruption to his work flow due to the COVID-19 pandemic and says having cleaned over 130 signs he finds the whole thing rather enjoyable.
“I had a day off and decided I would do it to keep myself busy,” said David. “I have had three outings so far, on the first day I think I cleaned around 35 signs in around the Killyman, Dungannon and Moy junction.
“On my second outing I cleaned about 45 in and around Bush and Newmills and on the third day I cleaned about 52 from Blackwatertown through to Brantry and Caledon and I hope to be down in Ballygawley in January.
“When you see the difference it makes it really is great, once you get one done its hard to stop. The dirt scrubs off really easily so I just need water and a scrubber and a high vis vest.
“It is a day time activity, certainly not something I would be doing at night but it helps to put the day in and is very satisfying.”
When asked what he hopes people take away from this random act of kindness, Mr Flanagan said he hopes, above all, it encourages others to get involved in their local communities as well.
“I’ve said it before but if everybody does there little half hour a week, it can make a colossal difference and increases the quality of life for everyone,” he said.
“Cleaning these road signs will not be a year round thing, I am just doing my little bit in the winter. Hopefully, it encourages others to get involved in their community as every little bit adds up to a lot and now, more than ever, our local communities need our help.”