Opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and critical of David Trimble who succeeded him as leader of the UUP, he later endorsed DUP candidates (including Jeffrey Donaldson who inherited his safe Lagan Valley Westminster seat for the UUP before defecting to the DUP).
Born in Killead, the village closest to Aldergrove airport, he even had his own seat with the choir in the local St Catherine’s parish church. During the Second World War he served in the RAF and witnessed the liberation of the concentration camp at Belsen.
About ten years ago, I sat beside him on a flight to Heathrow. He was heading over to the Lords. Before the plane’s door had closed he had already started a conversation, discovered that I had been a constituent, and as we munched our way through the bmi croissants and luke-warm tea, he fired questions at me and – unexpectedly – scribbled answers in a notebook he carried in his jacket pocket. My memory of that flight was of meeting a gentleman rather than a politician: engaging, polite, with an inquiring and curious mind.
Photo by Burns Library
Alan Meban. Tweets as @alaninbelfast. Blogs about cinema and theatre over at Alan in Belfast. A freelancer who writes about, reports from, live-tweets and live-streams civic, academic and political events and conferences. He delivers social media training/coaching; produces podcasts and radio programmes; is a FactCheckNI director; a member of Ofcom’s Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland; and a member of the Corrymeela Community.