The Parish Priest of Glenavy and Killead, Fr Colm McBride has paid tribute to one of its parishioners who passed away two years ago, and who left over half a million pounds to the parish.
Ballinderry man Peter McAreavey, of Crumlin Road, who worked as a farmer died in July 12, 2015 and left the vast amount of money in his will.
It is said that he lived a modest lifestyle, was quiet, yet genuinely generous during his life-time according to those who knew him.
He also left a sum of money to the restoration of the local parish hall and to the GAA club.
In a statement Fr McBride said of Mr McAreavey, “In his Will he instructed his executors, that the residue of his estate was to be gifted to the parish of Glenavy and Killead to help pay off the parish building loan. With the condition that it was used solely for that purpose.
“On the second week of January, this year, the parish received a cheque for the sum of £554,000.00
“It is an extra-ordinary and wonderful gift to our parish. This gift of over half a million pounds means that almost a third of our debt has been wiped out.
“So, as we begin a new financial year, I’m happy to say that our debt now stands not at £1.68 million, but is now reduced to £1.135,000
“The only way we can express our gratitude to Peter is to pray for his soul....... “
As well as the donation, Mr McAreavey bequeathed £70,000 to the neighbouring St Clare’s Community Centre in Glenavy.
The centre which was formerly the church hall was given to the community around two years ago, with money raised locally through loans going towards improvements works. Due to McAreavey’s donation, those loans were paid back.
An undisclosed sum was also received by St Joseph’s, Glenavy GAC where Mr McAreavey was also a former player and member.
Mr McAreavey, was the brother of the late Lawrenace, Arthur, Patricia, Bridie, Gertrude and Mary. His funeral Mass took place in St Joseph’s Church, and he was buried in the adjoining church yard.
In 2013 plans were revealed to upgrade St Clare’s Community Centre. Around £195,000 came from a grant from Department of Regional Development, and £70,000 fundraiser by the village.
St Joseph’s Church was also restored and an extension added around a decade ago. It was re-opened and dedicated on May 28, 2006.