George is back looking his Best in Southeast Belfast

George Best Mural in East Belfast  with a group of people
Pictured at the new George Best mural in Cregagh Estate are Amanda Ashe and Gary Ballantyne, Housing Executive, George’s sister Grace, Gemma Parker, Housing Executive, artist Dee Craig and Marlene Dodds, Cregagh Community Association

A new mural of one of Northern Ireland’s greatest sporting legends – footballer George Best - is almost complete, thanks to funding of almost £10k from the Housing Executive.

George’s sister, Grace, has now visited the site on an inspection visit to see how work is progressing on the mural, which has now had George’s copyrighted signature added by the artist, Dee Craig.

As she arrived to inspect the mural, which overlooks a grassed area where George perfected his silky skills as a child, Grace was joined by Housing Executive staff and members of the Cregagh Community Association.

The image itself used for the artwork was chosen by members of the local community.

Housing Executive manager in South & East Belfast, Gary Ballantyne, said:

“There was a mural of George here before, but it had to be removed to allow for external improvement works to be carried out to the building.

“Work is now complete and the area is benefitting from a new piece of public art, and we are so proud to have helped make this happen.

“We are very grateful that the Best family have trusted us to allow George’s copyrighted signature to be placed on the mural, adding an authenticity to the great work of the artist.

“I think this renews the sense of pride this community has in George being a native of the area.”

An official launch event is scheduled to take place in May, around George’s birthday, where the local community and their children, who love to play football ‘on Georgie Best’s pitch’ beside the mural, hope to hold a tournament to commemorate the event.

Grace said:  “The new mural is amazing, my daddy would be so proud of it.

“I love it when you are driving into the estate and you can see it easily as its three stories high.

“A street light shines on it almost like a spotlight in the evening.”

“It makes such a difference with George’s signature on it too, sets if off really well.”

Marlene Dodds from Cregagh Community Association has worked closely with the Best family and the Housing Executive on this development, including consulting with local residents to decide which image to display.   She said:

“We carried out a consultation on this some time ago, but due to the global pandemic we are only seeing the end result now.

“Back in February 2020 a community meeting took place to begin the consultation process.  Ballot boxes were placed in the community including local businesses, the local church and the community centre. 

“In total 205 ballots were collected.

“We gave the residents the choice of six images, and the image we used was the clear winner.

“The final result is amazing and there hasn’t been any negative feedback about it at all. 

“The residents in the estate can’t get over how well it looks, and the icing on the cake is we have George’s signature, a copyrighted image that the family holds dear.”

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