Tributes have been paid to the former mayor of Coleraine, Alderman James McClure, who died at Causeway Hospital on Sunday.
In a statement to the Times, Cllr Mervyn Storey comments on the death of James McClure: “It was with a great sense of sadness and loss that I learned of the passing of a dear friend and college James McClure.
“James McClure was a man of steadfastness and loyalty. The organisations that he was a member of knew this, and the contribution that he made to them was reflected in the high esteem in which he was held.
“I first meet James many years ago, when as a young boy my father took me to an advice centre that James ran in the Coleraine Town Hall. I well remember seeing people standing queued outside the Town Hall waiting to see their elected representative. As a local elected politician he was indeed a man of the people.
“I then got to know him in later life when I joined the Ind Orange Institution. Indeed I was privileged to be in the same lodge Mullans ILOL 34 and the same Apprentice Boys Club (Finvoy No Surrender) as James. In those two originations James gave unstinted service.
“The Ind Orage was indeed the organisation that was very close to James heart. His dedication and commitment was reflexed in that he served in all senior posts, from Imperial Grand Master, to County, District and
private lodge level.
“Even this year, despite failing health James did not want to miss the 12th. He was in the Lodge car. The County Grand Lodge conferred on me the great privilege and honour to follow in James footsteps by proposing the Resolutions. A task that he had admirably performed for many years.
“I extend to his wife and family my sincere sympathy and assure them of our prayers and we remember someone who was loved by us all and will be greatly missed.”
Cllr John Finlay continued: “I was greatly saddened to learn of the death of my good friend Alderman James McClure. I knew James for over 35 years and found him to be a man of total integrity and dedication who never wavered in his commitment to the Unionist and Protestant cause.
“As a founding member of the Democratic Unionist Party, he served over the years in various capacities as an elected representative at Assembly and Council level, and was Chairman and then President of the DUP. As a councillor in Ballymoney for short time in t he eighties and for 40 years in Coleraine, James was renowned for his hard work and outstanding service to the community and this was reflected in the support he received at each election.
“He also courageously and consistently stood up for his Christian principles without fear or favour. James has run his race and he has now heard His Saviour say those words, “Well done good and faithful servant”. I extend to his wife and family my heartfelt sympathy and assure them of my prayers at this time.”
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley reiterated the comments adding: “I express deep regret at the sad passing of James McClure. Jim was more than a party colleague. He was a dear friend, a true stalwart and a faithful Ulsterman. Jim helped my family loyally over the years. When my father was in prison Jim helped look after our home and family. He was one of my fathers most trusted and closest friends. His loss will be felt by us all.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire McClure family household may, God bless them at this time.”