Moving tributes are paid to ‘public spirited’ volunteer Brian

Brian McDowell pictured at the reception desk at Lagan Valley Island in March 2010.
Brian McDowell pictured at the reception desk at Lagan Valley Island in March 2010.

Tributes have poured in for Lisburn man Brian McDowell MBE, who sadly passed away last weekend, just days before his 46th birthday.

Brian, who had Spina Bifida, worked as a volunteer with Lisburn City Council for almost thirty years and has been described as dedicated, witty, friendly, and inspiring.

In 2013, Brian was awarded an MBE for his voluntary work, not only at Lisburn Council but also for his tireless work in the community.

Speaking at the Service of Thanksgiving for Brian’s life, which was held at Lagan Valley Island today (Thursday), his father Sid spoke of the close relationship that Brian has with his late mother Iris. “Shortly after he was born we were told that Brian might not see his teenage years,” said Sid. “In the event over his 46 years he enjoyed a reasonably good quality of life. Brian manifested sheer doggedness and determination which made me more than once see how he drew that strength and other characteristics from his mum. Brian influenced Iris as much as she influenced him.”

After Iris sadly passed away at a young age, one of her closest friends, Doreen became an integral part of the family’s life and supported Brian and the rest of the family through challenging times over the past twenty years.

Sid also spoke of the pride that Brian took in his work at the council. “One thing Brian would have wished me to make clear,” he continued. “The Council Chief Executive and the Mayor and councillors may think they ran this outfit but the rest of us know that Brian was the main man.”

At the memorial service Lisnagarvey Operatic Society, of which Brian, Sid and Doreen are avid supporters, sang ‘Castle on a Cloud’ from Les Miserables in Brian’s memory.

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Thomas Beckett, has expressed his deepest sympathy to Brian’s family. “His death has shocked and saddened us all because he was so dear to us. He was an integral part of our lives in the Council. However it is for Brian’s personality that we remember him most fondly. He was an extremely popular member of our team and many of us remarked that Brian knew what you wanted before the sentence was finished.

“All of the Council mourn his passing: Councillors and Officers alike, and we will remember Brian fondly and miss him dreadfully. Brian will live on for ever in our hearts and in the legacy that he has left,”

Freeman of Lisburn and former Mayor, Mr Ivan Davis, said he was deeply saddened to learn of Brian’s passing. “I held Brian in the highest esteem indeed,” said Mr Davis, “It was a privilege to have known him. I can well recall when Brian first started to work for the council and what long and distinguished service he gave, always helpful, witty and pleasant, He represented the very best that any employee could offer. He will be sadly missed.”

Lisburn’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor Alexander Redpath added: “I got to know Brian when I joined the council in February 2014. The council is a big organisation and it can be difficult knowing who to speak to about what. Brian knew the council inside out and I found his help invaluable. Brian volunteered faithfully for the Council and it’s hard to overstate the public good he achieved in that time. Lisburn would be an even better place if we had more people as public spirited as Brian.”