NBC correspondent pays tribute to former Lisburn man Trevor Patterson

Rev Trevor Patterson (left) with his friend Bill Neely, NBC's Chief Global Correspondent.
Rev Trevor Patterson (left) with his friend Bill Neely, NBC's Chief Global Correspondent.

Veteran television news journalist Bill Neely has paid tribute to former Lisburn man Rev Trevor Patterson, who died suddenly earlier this month.

Rev Patterson, a married father-of-three, was Vicar of Holy Trinity Richmond (London).

Rev Trevor Patterson. Pic supplied by John Kelly

Rev Trevor Patterson. Pic supplied by John Kelly

He died suddenly on Tuesday, October 10 after suffering a heart attack while out running.

A cremation service was held on Saturday, October 28 and a Thanksgiving Service celebrating his life was held at St Stephen’s Church, East Twickenham on Monday, October 30.

Speaking at the service at St Stephen’s, former ITN journalist Bill Neely paid tribute to his friend.

Mr Neely, who is now Chief Global Correspondent for US network NBC, spoke about how he met Trevor at the Richmond Saturday morning Parkrun nine years ago.

Rev Trevor Patterson. Pic supplied by John Kelly

Rev Trevor Patterson. Pic supplied by John Kelly

“His friendship was a gift to me - something very special that I never expected. And I will be forever grateful. There is a kind of eternal life in that,” he said.

“As you can probably hear, we had a shared background - from the suburbs of Belfast. We went to the same university- Queen’s Belfast - at more or less the same time. We had the same experience of growing up amid the Troubles. And we both left Northern Ireland, to marry beautiful, brilliant wives who went to Oxford. And we both knew from then on who was boss.

“We loved football. Trevor spoke a lot about his beloved Manchester United and I kept quiet about the slightly less successful Leeds United. And we loved running. Something we both discovered later in life.”

Mr Neely revealed how he’d decided that if anything ever happened him while reporting from somewhere such as Syria or Afghanistan, he wanted Trevor to conduct his funeral service.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I’d be here speaking at Trevor’s memorial service,” he said.

Reflecting on Rev Patterson’s “rich life and legacy”, Mr Neely concluded: “How did you do everything you did Trevor? To quote your Facebook profile: ‘Follower of Jesus. Husband to lovely Katie. Parent to 3 great boys, musician, runner, vicar’. To which we can add: School Governor. Devoted son. Jazz aficionado. Friend of Africa.

“Friend. You really were the loveliest man. So...I say; not ‘what if’ or ‘what might have been’, but ‘Thank you Trevor, for what was.’”

Trevor Patterson was born on August 18, 1960, the second in a family of three children born to Harold and Meta Patterson. The family attended Railway Street Presbyterian Church, Lisburn under the ministry of the late Very Rev Dr Howard Cromie.

Trevor was educated at Friends’ School, Lisburn. During his school holidays he often worked part-time at the family’s department store business, Smyth Patterson Ltd.

Trevor studied Music at Queen’s University in 1979 and Teaching at Stranmillis College in 1982 and went on to teach Music in Kilicomaine Junior High School and Knockbreda High School. He was also a talented organist and was choirmaster at First Dromore Presbyterian Church and then later at Lisburn Cathedral.

Trevor spent two years as a mission partner with CMS teaching in Nairobi where he met his wife Kate Peppiatt. They married in September 1991 and had three sons Johnny, Connor and Ben.

Trevor and Kate studied theology together at Trinity Bristol and Trevor then served as a Curate in Ashtead, Surrey. In April 1997, he was instituted as Vicar of Holy Trinity Richmond (London) where he also became Area Dean.

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life and ministry of the Rev Patterson will be held in Railway Street Presbyterian Church, Lisburn on Saturday, November 4 at 3pm.

The service will be conducted by the Rev Brian Gibson.