Recent Deaths & Obituaries
Mr Robert Gates
Members of 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade Company Old Boys’ Association were deeply saddened at the news of the death of another long serving member, Mr. Robert Gates on Sunday, November 3, 2019.
Robert was laid to rest at Kernan Cemetery on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, following a service in Thomas Street Methodist Church, conducted by the Rev. Sharon Connor.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Robert’s wife, Kathleen, daughter Susan and brother, Hugh, a former member of our Old Boys’ Choir.
It is with deep regret that we have learned of the passing on Monday, October 21, 2019 of Mr. Albert McNally, an Honorary Vice – President of 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association and former Captain of the 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade Company from 1968 to 1978.
Albert was also a highly respected Methodist Local Preacher for many years.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Albert’s wife, Eunice and daughter Rebekah.
House and funeral strictly private.
‘Sure and Steadfast’.
David’s involvement with 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade and the Old Boys’ Association stretches back even before the Association was formed in 1939. As a young boy, David and his family were part of the Thomas Street Methodist Church ‘furniture’, not just living opposite the Church, but with his parents responsible for the Church’s upkeep. Mr. and Mrs Burrows, as well as the five children – David, his brothers Lynn and Harry, along with his sisters Sally and Peggy were involved in so many organisations within the Church, such as the Sunday School, Christian Endeavour, and of course, Girls’ Brigade and Boys’ Brigade. They were all well – known and respected. Incidentally, Peggy in later years served a missionary abroad.
The year 1939 was an extremely significant one for David, as well as the Old Boys’ Association. That year saw the formation of the Association, but it was memorable for David as he became the inaugural winner of the Deale Memorial Cup (named after the founder of 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade). David then became an Officer in the 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade Company and also joined the Old Boys’ Association. In the books, written by Paul Teggart to commemorate the 60th and 75th Anniversaries of the Association, David recalls his father and Jack Gillis being asked to go to the BB camps as Company cooks, as well as listening to the Old Boys’ ‘philosophers’ in the Methodist Institute during the dark days of World War Two. David also revealed in the books that he still had his BB cap, haversack and belt.
By now, David was married to Mena and was working in Spence Bryson Portadown, but he was getting a call to the ministry. David and his good friend, Wesley Gould (another Vice – President of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association, who later went to the mission field in Brazil. Sadly, Wesley passed away in 2017) became accredited Methodist Local Preachers. In 1951, David and Mena took the bold step of moving to the United States of America, originally settling in Pennsylvania and later in Arizona. He became a Baptist Pastor and was extremely popular and he and Mena were well – liked and respected by everyone. David and Mena now had a family – sons Alan, David and Peter, as well as daughter Lynne.
Despite all the years living in the USA, David never forgot his Portadown, and especially Thomas Street ‘roots’ and was a regular preacher at services around the Portadown Methodist Circuit, especially when ministers were on holiday. David has the distinction of being one of only three men to be asked by the Association (Rev. Desmond Bain and Rev. David Neilands were the others) in their 80 – year history to speak twice at the Annual Service. David spoke at the 50th Anniversary Service of the Old Boys’ Association in 1989 and he and Mena also attended the Annual Dinner and Reunion at Craigavon Civic Centre that year as well. It gave David a great sense of joy ten years later in 1999, when during one of his regular visits ‘home’ to Portadown, he met up and was photographed with Jonathan Stanley, the winner of the Deale Memorial Cup in 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade that year – the same trophy that David had won sixty years earlier.
In recent years, mainly due to poor health and also on the death of Mena, the visits back to Portadown became less regular. Despite this, David kept in touch via telephone, letter and more recently, the internet with the folks back ‘home’ and was always keen to support the work of the Old Boys’ Association, as well as keeping up to date what was happening in Thomas Street Methodist Church, and also at Shamrock Park, home of Portadown Football Club.
Everyone in 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association extends their deepest sympathy to David’s children in the USA ; Alan, David, Lynne and Peter and their families, together with David’s family in Portadown, his brother Lynn (a Vice-President of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys Association), his nephew David, a member of the Association and former BB member and Officer, along with his niece Merlene, Captain of 1st Northern Ireland Girls’ Brigade Company, attached to Thomas Street Methodist Church, together with their families.
DAVID BURROWS – A man who was always Sure and Steadfast to his Lord and Saviour.
It was with sorrow and deep sadness to learn of the death of Mr. James Howard (Jim) McClung, an Honorary Vice – President of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
Jim had a long association with the Boys’ Brigade, first as a member of the 1st Portadown BB Company, where he exceeded especially at drill and was a part of the Drill Squad, under the leadership of Company Captain, Mr. William Coulter which won competitions at local and Northern Ireland level in the late 1940s. Later, he was a faithful member of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association, and was a regular attender at the Bible Class, both in its 1950s ‘heyday’, and also when it re – formed in 1993. He was also a member of the Old Boys’ Choir, which travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, singing at various Church services and Jim certainly enjoyed the camaraderie and laughter that made the choir so enjoyable – even the practices. There was even a ‘comeback’ for Jim as part of an Old Boys’ Drill Squad in 1985 which gave an exhibition of drill at the Annual Displays of both 1st and 7th Portadown BB companies.
Jim’s entire working life was spent in the drapery trade, and he was always immaculately dressed. His immaculate attention to detail was also evident during his time as Building Fund Steward at Thomas Street Methodist Church. In later years, Jim moved to Mahon Methodist Church, where he and his family enjoyed the fellowship and friendship.
Unfortunately, Jim’s health declined in recent years, and it was also a great sadness for him when his beloved wife Isla passed away in 2015. Despite this, Jim still attended the Annual Service, as well as the Annual Reunion and Dinner, (he was present at the 2019 service and 2018 Dinner, along with his wonderful and caring daughter, Kathy), and it was with a great sense of delight, both to Jim and his family when 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association appointed him as an Honorary Vice – President in 2018 and received his special World War One Centenary BB badge (which he wore with great pride to all Old Boys’ and Church functions). at the 2018 Annual Service, along with Roy Woolsey and Lynn Burrows.
A thanksgiving service for Jim’s life took place on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Mahon Methodist Church, conducted by the Rev. Sharon Connor, with contributions from two past Presidents of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association, the Rev. David Mullan and the Rev. Kenneth Robinson, as well as family members. The interment, which followed the service was to Seagoe Cemetery.
The thoughts and prayers of all members of the Association are with Jim’s son Paul, daughter – in – law Gillian, daughter Kathy, son – in – law Donald, grandchildren Alice, Peter, Jonathan and James, as well as other family members.
Donations in lieu of flowers to Mahon Methodist Church and The Faith Mission can be made c/o George McNabb and Co. (Funeral Directors), 106 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AP.
IVAN DAVISON BEM
One of 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association’s longest serving members, Mr. Ivan Davison BEM passed away on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.
Ivan served the Old Boys’ in many capacities since he joined the Association in 1946, including Chairman (1967 – 1971), Secretary, Honorary Vice – President as well being made a Life Member in 2017. He is also credited at playing the last shot in the Methodist Institute clubrooms in 1992.
An accountant by profession, Ivan served the community in various capacities, including St. Mark’s Parish Church, Portadown, where he was a member of the Select Vestry, as well as Church honorary secretary, Christian stewardship recorder, Churchwarden, parochial nominator and also prepared the annual Church report and presented it at the Easter General Vestry. Ivan was also a faithful member of Portadown Male Voice Choir for over 50 years and was also a member of both Portadown Rotary Club and Portadown Probus Club. In recognition of his years’ service to so many organisations, Ivan was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in 2017.
A private funeral service took place in St. Mark’s Parish Church on Saturday, November 17, 2018, conducted by the Rev. William Orr.
The deepest sympathy from all in the Old Boys’ Association is extended to Ivan’s wife Ruby, daughters Aileen and Yvonne, along with eight grandchildren and three great – grandchildren.
Donations for the benefit of Marie Curie and Northern Ireland Chest, Heart and Stroke. Cheques made payable to Milne Funeral Services Donation Account please c/o Milne Funeral Services, 59 Seagoe Road, Portadown BT63 5HS.
First Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association were saddened to learn of the death of Mr. William Kennedy (Kenny) McClatchey, an Honorary Vice-President of the Association on Friday, January 19, 2018.
Kenny (83) was one of four children born to Herbert and Elizabeth McClatchey. The family lived at Whitesides Hill on the Tandragee Road and later moved to Bridge Street. Sadly, Kenny’s older sister, Helena (Babs) and younger sister, Ann have both predeceased him, meaning that his brother Tom is the sole surviving sibling.
Kenny was educated at Edenderry Public Elementary School and also was a faithful member of First Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade, where he was part of the drill squad who won the ‘treble’ of Northern Ireland District, Belfast Battalion as well as the Lurgan and Portadown (that was a joint competition) drill competitions in 1948/49. Later, Kenny became Officer in Charge of the Life Boy section (now Junior Boys’ Brigade) at Edenderry Memorial Methodist before stepping down in 1969. In his later years, Kenny was a regular member of the Old Boys’ Bible Class when it re-formed in 1993 and his strong, impressive singing voice gave a lead to many a hymn when there was no accompanying music at the Bible Class. In recognition of his faithfulness to Boys’ Brigade work down through the years, the Old Boys’ Association appointed him as an Honorary Vice-President at their Annual General Meeting in 2017.
His working life was extremely varied which included spells at R.H. Carson motor components, Thornton and Gracey’s, delivering bread for McCombs in the Gilford area as well as being employed by both Goodyear and Ulster Meats, working on the UK mainland. He was perhaps best remembered at British Telecom, where he worked up until his retirement.
In August 1956, Kenny married Margaret White and for many years have lived in Festival Road, Portadown. Kenny and Margaret have one son, Stuart, as well as daughter-in-law Gemma and granddaughter Lily. We extend our deepest sympathy to them as well as Kenny’s brother Tom and other family members on Kenny’s passing.
Kenny used his impressive singing voice to good effect, being a member of Portadown Male Voice Choir many years and he also loved to sing the songs of Percy French. In his spare time, Kenny was an extremely accomplished cook.
Kenny was extremely popular in Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church, where he and Margaret were members of the bowling club, Church Choir as well as the Midweek Bible Study and Prayer Group. Kenny also served as Manse Steward during the Rev. William Davison’s time at Edenderry Memorial.
Kenny’s Thanksgiving Funeral Service took place on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 to Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church. The service was conducted by the Rev. Aian Ferguson (Portadown Methodist Circuit Superintendent). This was followed by the committal at Seagoe Cemetery.
Donations in lieu of flowers to Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church c/o Joseph Poots and Son (Funeral Directors), 42 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AE.
Footnote : In the Old Boys’ Association committee room, there a photograph of Kenny, leading the Life Boys’ on parade in the centre of Portadown. There is also a plaque with the inscription ‘For A Job Well Done’.
It was with profound shock and sorrow to learn of the sudden passing on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 of Mr. Wesley Gould, an Honorary Vice – President of 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association.
Wesley, along with his great friend, Pastor David Burrows, shared the distinction of being the oldest Vice – Presidents of the Association in terms of age. He joined 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade as a young boy, and after leaving the Company, he gave his heart to the Lord at the age of 20. He went on to become a BB Officer in the 1st Portadown Company and also a Methodist Local Preacher, before Wesley felt the calling of God to become a Missionary in Brazil. He and his wife Winnie (they married in July 1953) spent many years in South America, where they changed many lives and made many friends. A book on Wesley and Winnie’s life in Portadown and Brazil is currently available via The Faith Mission.
When Wesley and Winnie, along with their daughter, Esther returned to Northern Ireland in the late 1970’s, they lived in the Methodist Manse for two years at 33 Thomas Street, Portadown, when Wesley became the Portadown Methodist Circuit Evangelist and assisted the ministers on the Portadown Methodist Circuit. His work was invaluable, and even when the Circuit Evangelist’s ‘post’ ended in 1980 and the Gould Family moved to Garrymore, Craigavon, Wesley was still doing outstanding work for the Lord, in the Christian Endeavour, conducting Opening Devotions at 1st Portadown BB’s Company Parade Night as well as returning to the pulpit as a Methodist Local Preacher. When the Old Boys’ Bible Class returned in 1993, he was a regular attender, and occasionally was a speaker at the meetings.
In 2014, Wesley, along with another Honorary Vice – President, Mr. Ivan Davison cut the special 75th Anniversary cake after the service and recalled his years in the Company and also his memories of the Old Boys’ Association.
Health reasons have prevented Wesley attending Old Boys’ functions in recent years, but he still kept an interest in the Association and he was presented with his World War One Centenary BB badge last year. Wesley was attending Morning Worship in Thomas Street Methodist Church, along with Winnie right up until his sudden passing.
Wesley’s funeral service took place on Saturday, July 1 in Thomas Street Methodist Church, Portadown, conducted by the Rev. Kenneth Robinson, assisted by family members and also representatives from UFM Worldwide Mission. There was a private family committal in Lurgan Cemetery.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Wesley’s wife, Winnie, daughter Esther, son – in -law Philip, grandchildren Timothy and Jayne as well as other family members.
Donations, in lieu of flowers to UFM Worldwide Mission, c/o Milne Funeral Services, 57 Tandragee Road, Lurgan BT66 8TL.
The members of the Old Boys’ Association have been stunned at the sudden passing on Friday, February 24, 2017 of Mr. Errol Whitten, a member of the Association for over fifty years.
Errol had been planning to attend the Annual Service in Thomas Street Methodist Church on the evening of Sunday, February 26 2017, but the news of his death was announced at the service, while the family were remembered by the Rev. Kenneth Robinson, who led the congregation in prayer.
He was extremely well known in sporting circles, particularly bowls and was appointed President of the Irish Bowling Association a number of years ago. Errol was also a keen supporter of Portadown Football Club as well as being a talented billiard player, and was part of our Old Boys’ Association team who won the Belfast and District Junior Billiards League in 1964/65.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Errol’s wife Olive and his sister Doreen, as well as other family members.
Errol’s funeral service took place on Wednesday, March 1 in Armagh Road Presbyterian Church, Portadown, conducted by the Rev.Christina Bradley with music from the Church Choir. Refreshments were served in the Church Hall followed by interment in Loughgall Old Burial Ground.
Donations, if desired payable to Armagh Road Presbyterian Church, c/o Joseph Poots and Son, 42 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AE.
It was with profound sadness and sorrow that Mr. Derek Laverty, our devoted Bible Class Leader, Honorary Vice – President and former Chairman (1973 -1979) passed away on Saturday, September 8, 2018, following a brief illness.
Derek had given a lifetime of service to the Boys’ Brigade movement, in the 1st Portadown Company in Thomas Street Methodist, as a boy and officer and also as an officer in 7th Portadown, attached to Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church. He even spent a year in Nigeria on BB mission work in the 1960’s and was also involved for a time with the Portadown BBOB football team who played in the Mid – Ulster League.
His BB connection in recent years came in the Old Boys’ Association when he became Bible Class Leader in 1994, a year after the Bible Class was reformed and just in time for the opening of Thomas Street Methodist Church’s new suite of halls. His organisational skills at the Bible Class was exceptional – he always had interesting speakers for the monthly meetings, provided the music in recent times through his own portable stereo system, kept a tally on numbers at each Bible Class and always gave a warm welcome for newcomers and visitors.
He was also a former Methodist local preacher.
Derek’s working life was in the insurance business, first with Norwich Union and latterly with his own company, PD Insurances, based in Woodhouse Street, Portadown, where he gained great respect from both colleagues and customers.
Thomas Street Methodist Church Hall was filled to capacity for Derek’s funeral service on Tuesday, September 11, 2018. The service was conducted by the Rev. Thomas Stevenson (President, 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association) and the Rev. Maurice Laverty, while there was scripture readings and tributes from family members, colleagues and close friends. There was a large representation of BB Old Boys’ and other BB members. Interment was at Orchard Cemetery, Richhill.
Everyone involved with 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association wish to extend their deepest sympathy to Derek’s wife Kim, sons Alan and David, daughters Sarah and Ruth, brother Brian and family, as well as other family members.
Donations in lieu of flowers (family flowers only) for Ward 2 North (Respiratory) Craigavon Area Hospital (cheques made payable to S.H.S.C.T.), c/o George McNabb & Co, 106 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AP.
Footnote : Derek’s final words at the end of each Bible Class ;
May God’s blessings surround you each day,
As you trust him and walk in his way,
May his presence within, guard and keep you from sin,
Go in peace, go in joy, go in love.
(Mission Praise, No. 460).
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death on Friday, June 22, 2018 of Mr. Harry Curran, a faithful member and former secretary of 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association.
There was a private family cremation on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, while there was a Service of Celebration for Harry’s life the following day in Lisburn Cathedral.
The Association wishes to extend their deepest sympathy to Harry’s wife Evelyn, daughters Katie, Jenny and Emma as well as son Adam, together with other family members.
Warrenpoint Methodist Church was filled to capacity on Sunday, October 23, 2016 for the funeral service of Mr. Errol Johnston, a Vice – President of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association and a former Company Captain of 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade (1966 – 1968).
The service was conducted by the Rev. Lorna Dreaning, assisted by the Rev. Kenneth Robinson (Portadown Methodist District Superintendent and President of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association) and the Rev. Tom Deacon (Newry Methodist Circuit Superintendent).
The scripture lessons were read by Mr. Malcolm Johnston and the Rev. Derek Johnston, Errol’s two sons.
There were three hymns at the service – ‘In heavenly love abiding’, ‘Blessèd assurance’ and ‘Love divine, all loves excelling’.
Refreshments were served in the Church Hall immediately following the service, before the committal at Bessbrook Methodist Church graveyard.
A number of committee members, Vice-Presidents and members from 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association, along with former members of 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade attended the service as well as a former President of 1st Portadown BB Old Boys’ Association, the Rev. Robert Loney.
Donations in lieu of flowers if desired for Tearfund and Parkinson’s UK. Cheques payable to George Preston (Funeral Director), 7 Sugar Island, Newry, Co. Down BT35 6HT.
(Photograph by kind permission of the Johnston Family).
It is with shock, sadness and deep sorrow to announce the death on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 of Mr. Harry Leeman, an Honorary Vice-President of 1st Portadown Company Boys’ Brigade Old Boys’ Association.
Harry was a faithful Officer with the 3rd Portadown (St. Mark’s) Boys’ Brigade Company for many years , but gave the same amount of commitment and loyal service to the Old Boys’ Association. He was also Treasurer and Auditor for both the Old Boys’ Association and the Portadown and District Boys’ Brigade Battalion (he was an accountant by profession, so he was extremely well qualified!).
Snooker was another one of Harry’s passions. He faithfully kept the tables in pristine condition, in the former Institute building in Edward Street, the temporary Annagh premises and also in our current clubrooms situated in Thomas Street Methodist Church suite of halls, until ill health forced him to relinquish the position to our current Maintenance Officer, Mr. Thomas Mathews. Harry also represented the Old Boys’ Association on the County Armagh Snooker League Committee, where he was highly respected and made many friends.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Harry’s son, Mark, daughter Cathy, as well as other family members (Harry’s wife Marise passed away in 2014).
Family flowers only. Donations if desired payable to St. Mark’s Boys’ Brigade, c/o Joseph Poots and Son, 42 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AE.
Richard Wright, a faithful member of the Old Boys’ Association for many years, passed away peacefully at Lisnisky Care Home, Portadown on Saturday, January 28, 2017.
Though his mobility was limited for most of his life, Richard played an active role within 1st Portadown Boys’ Brigade Company in his youth and latterly the Old Boys’ Association.
He was a regular attender, when health permitted at the Annual Service, Annual Reunion and Dinner, Stew Night and was present at our 75th Anniversary Civic Reception in February 2015.
Richard was a keen sports fan, particularly soccer, attending games in Northern Ireland and also cross – channel fixtures on the British mainland.
Until recently, he regularly attended Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Richard’s sister Margaret, brother – in -law Nigel and niece Susannah.
Richard’s funeral service took place on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church, Portadown, led by the Rev. Aian Ferguson, Portadown Methodist Circuit Superintendent, assisted by Mrs Myrtle Wright, Portadown Methodist Circuit Steward and Pastoral Assistant. Richard’s niece, Susannah read a poem. The hymns were ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ and ‘What a Friend We Have In Jesus’. This was followed by interment at Drumcree Church of Ireland graveyard.
No flowers please. Donations in lieu of flowers to Epilepsy Action NI, c/o Joseph Poots and Son, 42 Bridge Street, Portadown BT63 5AE.