‘He was a humble, Godly man and a friend to everybody’

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One of Lisburn’s most well-known and respected businessmen, Harold Patterson, has passed away at the age of 85.

Harold, who ran Smyth Pattersons with his brother Hubert since they were teenagers, will be sadly missed by the entire Lisburn community.

The Patterson brothers, who took over the business from their father, Smyth Patterson, in 1949 at the ages of 19 and 17, developed the Lisburn store into the landmark it is today.

As well as being known as one of the men behind Lisburn’s oldest store, where he will be remembered as an honourable man who always put people above profit, Harold was a man of deep personal faith, who had a passion for bringing young people to the Lord.

As a young man Harold already had a strong Christian faith and volunteered with Youth For Christ showing Billy Graham Films on his cine projector. After marrying his beloved wife Meta in 1957, the couple opened their home to young people, holding ‘squash nights’ once a month when some fifty young people would squash into their home for an evening of Bible study and fellowship.

Harold and Meta also ran the Y Club in Wallace Avenue, a youth club which was opened in 1977 by Al Worden the command pilot for the Apollo 15 lunar mission. The Y Club was a hub of activity for young people for three nights a week and fed into the interchurch youth camps the couple also ran twice a year.

Harold was recognised for his youth work when he received the MBE in the New Year’s Honours in 2008. Typically modest, Harold praised his wife for her support and help over the years.

His faith was a central part of his life, and the family worshipped for many years at Railway Street Presbyterian, where Harold was installed as an elder in 1950 at the age of just 21.

Harold was also passionate about photography, in particular cine film, and is well known for his footage of the Queen’s visit to Lisburn in 1953. As a 23 year-old camera club enthusiast he took cine-films of Lisburn in 1953 that now features in two historic films produced by the BBC and have been shown several times on BBC television. One of the films, entitled ‘Our Town’ even shows the congregation of Railway Street Church after a morning service.

The second film, entitled ‘A Royal Occasion’ shows the Queen’s visit to Lisburn, shortly after her Coronation. Harold had to obtain special permission from the police to take this footage. For years to come, the films will provide irreplaceable history of life in Lisburn in the early 1950s.

Always a family man, he instilled strong Christian values in his three children, one of whom now serves as an Anglican clergyman.

“He was a humble, Godly man and a friend to everybody,” said his wife Meta.

Harold is survived by his wife Meta, children Smyth Patterson, Trevor Patterson and Hazel Roulston, grandchildren Johnny, Connor, Ben and Michael Patterson, and Rachel Roulston, as well as sisters Maureen Martin and Jean Patterson.

A service of thanksgiving was due to be held in Railway Street Presbyterian Church on Friday February 27 at 12noon (a private family committal having taken place earlier). Donations in lieu of flowers for Mission Aviation Fellowship, cheques payable to Ronnie Thompson’s Donations Account, c/o 20 Ballinderry Road, Lisburn BT28 1UF.