Former UUP man laid to rest

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Tributes have been paid to a former Lisburn councillor who was laid to rest recently.

There was a huge turnout at Priesthill (Zion) Methodist Church on Friday, May 29 for the funeral of prominent Lisburn Unionist and former Alderman of Lisburn, Mr Ronnie Campbell.

Mr Campbell died peacefully on May 26 after a lengthy period of illness. Prominent mourners included former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble, newly elected MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone, Tom Elliott; and former colleagues from the old Lisburn Borough Council including Ivan Davis, Seamus Close, and Jim Dillon.

Ronald Campbell was born in Lisburn on April 2, 1939 into a prominent Methodist family. He attended Wallace High School then entered a career in insurance rising to become general manager of Cornhill Insurance in Northern Ireland. He was a keen sportsman and lifelong member of South Antrim Hockey Club.

In the early 1970s Mr Campbell became active in the Ulster Unionist Party and the Ulster Vanguard movement.

He was active in organising the UWC strike in 1974 and opposing the building of the prison at the Long Kesh site, close to his home.

In 1977 he topped the poll in elections to Lisburn Borough Council for the Killultagh area, and repeated this on two further elections serving as councillor and alderman for twelve years.

He retired from the council in 1989 and was succeeded by his son David.

He was an active member of Priesthill Methodist Church for over 50 years serving as society steward, treasurer, and trustee.

In later years he also attended Magheragall Methodist Church. His funeral service and tribute was conducted by the Rev Colin Gracie, assisted by Rev Peter Mercer, and Rev Dr Edmund Mawhinney.

Mr Campbell is survived by his wife, Ann; children, Patricia, David, and Richard; and four grandsons.

Freeman of the city, Mr Ivan Davis, paid tribute to his former council and party colleague.

“I was deeply saddened by Ronnie’s passing,” said Mr Davis. “I well recall Ronnie coming onto the Council. It was a real privilege to have served with him. His constituents were truly represented by a hardworking public servant showing care and genuine effort.

“He was a person of unfailing courtesy, kindness and worthwhile principles and he expressed those principles in simple, down to earth and often humorous terms.

“The large gathering for his funeral was a very fitting tribute and demonstrated the high esteem in which he was held.”