Freddie described as a ‘big man with big heart’

Freddie Bustard
Freddie Bustard

HILLSBOROUGH village came to a standstill on Sunday, January 27, when more than 700 people packed the Parish Church, and the adjoining hall, for a service of Thanksgiving for the life of local man Freddie Bustard.

Described as ‘a big man with a big heart who always had time for everyone’ Freddie was born in Lisburn and moved to Hillsborough almost 58 years ago when he married Naomi (nee Lucas).

Freddie was well known for his commitment to tennis and to Downshire Tennis Club in particular, where he played as Number One for many years. He was responsible for coaching hundreds of children for over 40 years and also served on the committee for 50 years, helping to lay the foundation for the successful development of the club.

As a mark of respect Downshire Tennis Club was closed for play on Sunday and the club plan to mark his contribution formally at the AGM this week.

Freddie worked in the Agricultural Research Institute for almost 40 years until his retirement. He was described as ‘a great manager and motivator whose positive approach at all times rubbed off on everyone who worked with him’.

Rev Ferran Glenfield led the worship which comforted and inspired many of the mourners. Freddie’s granddaughter Laura, accompanied by Julie Bell on violin, sang her granda’s favourite hymn ‘How deep the Father’s love for us’ and a family tribute was given by his daughter. Jenny told the congregation that her parent’s marriage and their hard work and commitment to their family, to the church and the community taught Freddie’s children and grandchildren everything they needed to know about faith and hope and love.

Former Rector of St Malachy’s Rev John Dinnen, who knew Freddie so well during his ministry in Hillsborough, delivered the address.

Rev Dinnen said that Freddie was a big part of church and village life, who touched so many lives in a positive way and called on the congregation to follow God’s call on their lives.

Freddie’s love of home and family made him commit to the home and hope building work of Habitat for Humanity so it was a fitting tribute that the retiring collection (of more than £1,200) and donations in lieu of flowers will support Habitat’s work at home and around the world.

Freddie was first diagnosed with cancer in December 2009, he bore his illness with courage, dignity and his usual good humour until the very end. Freddie’s family wife Naomi, daughter Jenny, sons Michael and Peter and their families have been overwhelmed by messages of love and support for which they are very grateful.