Shock at death of keen keep-fit lawyer who was adviser to Orange Order

The death of a staunchly-unionist lawyer from a suspected heart attack has shocked those who knew him – particularly since he was so keen on fitness and exercise.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 6:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st January 2021, 6:59 pm
David Brewster, pictured at the 2012 Ulster Covenant centenary parade in Belfast

David Brewster, a lawyer from the Limavady area, is remembered fondly by former political colleagues from both the main unionist parties, following his death on Wednesday.

Mr Brewster, who was thought to have been aged in his 50s, was formerly a member of the UUP but left the party sometime around two decades ago.

Ulster Unionist councillor Norman Hillis told the News Letter that he had been a “charismatic” character, who was involved in unionist politics since his youth – albeit more behind-the-scenes than as a public face of the party.

Adlerman Hillis said: “He was, from his university days, someone of strong unionist convictions. He was connected with the loyal orders and was a well-known personality around Limavady – and as far as I’d be concerned he’s a loss to the town.”

UUP colleague Richard Holmes said he had been a leader of the Queen’s University Young Unionists’ Society in the early 1990s, helped lead the Limavady area constituency association, and “was regarded as someone with a lot of future potential”.

He was at one stage thought of as a potential successor to Willie Ross (UUP MP for East Londonderry until 2001).

“He was an outstanding talent in the local party at the time,” said councillor Holmes.

But whilst seen as a political “high-flier” in waiting, councillor Holmes added: “Things didn’t work out that way.”

He was associated more with the anti-1998 Agreement side of the UUP, and ended up parting ways with the party in the years that followed.

He was also “very much into keep fit – he’d been doing a lot of running the last few years,” councillor Holmes added.

This was echoed by Aaron Callan (who, like the previous two councillors, also sits on the Causeway Coast and Glens authority).

A former UUP man, councillor Callan later switched to the DUP.

He told the News Letter: “He was into weightlifting, boxing, would’ve gone walking and running. He just liked to keep fit.

“[His death] was a complete shock. It just came completely out of the blue.”

He said Mr Brewster, after quitting the UUP, “nominally” joined the DUP – but did not actually go to any meetings.

He had also penned a recent book about the history of Orangism in the Limavady area, the proceeds of which were to go to the Drew Nelson Legacy Fund, was a firm follower of Limavady FC, and was secretary of Bellarena NoSurrender Apprentice Boys Club.

“He was full of life and full of ideas,” said councillor Callan.

He was Worshipful Master of Aghanloo True Blues LOL656, as well as “a Deputy Grand Master and legal advisor to the Grand Lodge of Ireland”.

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Alistair Bushe