Tributes paid to Legion stalwart

Maurice Leathem MBE.
Maurice Leathem MBE.

Tributes have been paid to Lisburn man Maurice Leathem who passed away this week.

Mr Leathem died peacefully in hospital on January 7 and his funeral was held at St Paul’s Parish Church on Thursday January 10.

A prominent figure in the community, Mr Leathem was a longstanding member of the Royal British Legion and in 2017 he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for his 60 years of dedicated work for the Legion.

The President of the Lisburn branch, Mr Raymond Corbett paid tribute to Mr Leathem, saying: “Maurice was always held in the highest esteem in the Royal British Legion.

“He joined some 60 years ago and he has dedicated his life to raising funds for the Poppy Appeal, but he didn’t stop there; he helped raise funds for other charities as well.

“He held every office in the Legion from Chairman to President of both Branch and Club.

“I have known Maurice for the past number of years, as a member of the Royal British Legion and a friend.

“Maurice has worked tirelessly for the Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

“During that period I worked very closely with him in the Welfare and Charity work in the Legion and on various projects.

“Maurice has played a major role in helping me choose a career in the Royal British Legion.

“Under his tutelage I have been motivated to strive for and achieve exceptionally high standards for the Poppy Appeal.

“I was delighted that Maurice was honoured by Her Majesty The Queen, in which he received the MBE for services to the Royal British Legion.

“Maurice was very proud of his Regiment, The Ulster Defence Regiment, in which he served and would have done anything for the UDR Association in which he held the post of president as well.

“Over the past few years Maurice has battled with cancer and has always come back fighting,.

“However, he has been battling a virus over the past few weeks which has taken this great man away from us.

“Goodbye my friend; thank you for letting me be part of your life.”

Tributes were also paid by politicians, including MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

Mr Leathem is survived by his wife Shiela and sons Thomas and Ivan.