Lily is coming up roses for Belfast film firm
For me, the lily is a flower forever associated with spring and remembrance at Eastertide?
But of course the lily is also a symbol of unionism; witness the famous Siege of Derry song, Lillibulerro ‘lile ba léir é, ba linn an lá’ (‘the lily could be seen, victory was ours’).
So if you had to give a name to the bubbly, red-headed schoolgirl fronting a new animated series from Belfast and set to roll out in 25 countries, Lily wouldn’t be a bad choice.
I am sure none of the above enterered into the heads of Colin Williams and his talented team at Sixteeen South when coming up with the concept of Lily’s Driftwood Bay, a delightful cartoon series set to storm the world of children’s programming.
I had the privilege of visiting Sixteen South, nestled right behind City Hall, this week as part of my continuing homage to the businesses building the future Belfast. Colin’s company is a veritable United Nations of talent with 60-plus artists from all arts and parts working on a series with undoubted global appeal.
You — and your children and grandchildren – will get their own chance to fall in love with Lily and her island chums (all the characters are made up of pieces of driftwood found on our beaches) when Lily’s Driftwood Bay premieres in the US on Sprout, NBC’s 24-hour kids channel reaching into 60 million homes.
It’s been a busy week: I inked a sister cities deal in principle with Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston (in the presence of our great friends Andrew O’Brien of Secretary Kerry’s Global Partnerships and Mary Kane, CEO of Sister Cities International), hosted an eastern economic corridor symposium on the go with the Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn — who has made north-south relations a touchstone of his administration — and today attended church with the congregation of McCracken Memorial Church.
Those were memorable moments but my personal highlight was hosting the Northern Ireland Hospice Violet Ball in City Hall on Saturday night. The hospice is a place of vitality, life and grace and I’m honoured to continue to repay my personal debt to them by backing their fundraising efforts for a new, state-of-the-art facility. In fact, I’ll don my racing shoes and run the Belfast marathon on Monday 5 May for their worthy campaign: ‘In Our Hour of Need’ (You find out more on my JustGiving page).
Belfast is on the fast-track, sometimes you have to run to keep up.