Today, on what would have been George Best’s 67th birthday, a trail that guides you through the football legend’s humble beginnings, was launched on his ‘home turf’ at the Cregagh Estate, east Belfast.
This new trail will guide locals and visitors alike to the places that shaped the young George Best before he was talent spotted and left for Manchester United. Places of interest include his home at Burren Way, the playing fields where he honed his skills, his favourite east Belfast haunts and of course his final resting place. Today, George’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of his signing to Manchester United Football Club, is the perfect occasion on which to pay tribute to the local football phenomenon with this trail.
Speaking at the launch George’s sister Barbara McNarry said, “The George Best Trail evokes many special childhood memories for me. It was a very happy family time and I have vivid memories of a football crazy George honing his skills in the big field’ as we fondly called it, at the top of Burren Way. Since George’s death in 2005, many poignant tributes have been paid and this latest venture by the Connswater Community Greenway is yet another example of the high esteem in which George was held, not just in east Belfast, but around the world. Many people have already made the journey to pay their respects to their hero and the George Best Trail will give them a better understanding of George’s childhood before leaving east Belfast for Manchester. The 22nd May is George’s birthday and what a special way to mark what would above been his 67th. I wish this venture every success.”
A spokesman for the George Best Foundation said “We are delighted that Connswater Community Greenway has taken the initiative to create this trail which hopefully will further cement George’s legacy. That will in turn raise the awareness of the Foundation and the work it does to help young people develop life skills and wellness through the power of football and sport.”
Wendy Langham Programme Manager of the Connswater Community Greenway project said “We are delighted with the George Best Trail, one of a series of trails that are being developed along the Connswater Community Greenway. East Belfast is well known for its industrial heritage but less well known for world class people who have come from the area. The trail is an insight into George’s east Belfast, enabling people to experience for themselves the place that produced one of the best footballers of all time. George Best is one of Northern Ireland’s most famous sporting sons and deciding to focus an entire trail on his early life here in east Belfast was an easy decision to make”.
For more information on the trail check out their website here.
The official launch of the trail in Greenway Womens Centre was followed by a visit to the Best family home, 16 Burren Way, now available as a holiday rental in order to preserve the legacy of the east Belfast legend www.georgebesthouse.com.