Funeral for much-admired lawyer David Brewster ‘would seen town at a standstill in normal times’

In normal circumstances the death of lawyer and loyal order stalwart David Brewster would have brought his hometown to a standstill.

Saturday, 23rd January 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 23rd January 2021, 10:17 am
David Brewster, 1964 to 2021. He was a solicitor, Orangeman and former Ulster Unionist party officer and member of 1998 talks team broke with party over support of the Belfast Agreement

That is according to his friend Neale Matthews, who has paid tribute to him ahead of his funeral.

Limavady-based lawyer Mr Brewster, who was 56, died after suffering what is suspected to have been a heart attack on Wednesday.

Although his funeral is expected to be tomorrow (Sunday), the organisers are prohibited from disclosing precisely when because of the coronavirus curbs on the number of mourners (attendance is capped at 25 and well-wishers are asked not to show up in person).

Mr Matthews, a barrister, said: “If this had’ve been other than Covid times, Limavady would have been brought to a halt — you would have barely been able to move.”

Mr Brewster was the worshipful master of Aghanloo True Blues LOL656 and secretary of the Bellarena Apprentice Boys club - and also found time to follow sports closely.

He was a cricket fan, and in footballing terms he supported Limavady United and Arsenal (and Linfield too) as well as Northern Ireland — with Mr Matthews noting that he left a huge collection of memorabilia for the national team.

He had set up his own law firm in 1992, and it was “very much an old-fashioned traditional solicitor’s office where he did everything from conveyancing through matrimonial to criminal work,” according to Mr Matthews.

“Despite his obviously perceived political background, his clientele was from across the community — that would surprise some people,” he said. “A nationalist QC phoned me this morning and said: ‘Can you tell me when the funeral is? I want to pray for David, because he was a good man’.

“He did have more of a cross-community clientele than people would instinctively believe.”

Given his staunch convictions, those who did not know him might have believed he was “ a traditional unionist dry stick” - but he was in fact “genuinely the funniest person I’ve ever met”.

He was also strongly religious.

“He took his faith very seriously. I was in his house yesterday and on the breakfast table where he’d eaten his final breakfast before going to work he had his New Testament open; he’d been reading it over breakfast,” said Mr Matthews.

Presbyterian minister Drewe McConnell said he had been an elder in the church and also taught at Sunday School.

“David was quiet, but personable,” said Rev McConnell.

“He was obviously well-liked in the Magilligan church family, he’d been very pro-active.

“He was fun-loving, but when it came to serious matters [like his legal work] he was a rock.”

Mr Brewster is survived by his sisters Janet and Elinor.

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