Members of Craigavon Protestant Boys Flute Band have spoken of their pride and respect for their founding member, Victor Stewart, who died yesterday (Friday),
Mr Stewart, who was in his late sixties, passed away in hospital following an illness.
His business, Victor Stewart Enterprises in Queen Street, Lurgan, was well known for supplying Ulster regalia, accessories and marching band supplies.
A statement from the band passed on its heartfelt condolences to the Stewart family.
It said, “We as a band cannot describe our sadness and sorrow at this moment and to Susie, Greig and Vicky, we share in your sorrow and offer our support to you and indeed your wider family at this sad time.
“The band have lost a special friend and valued member. We would not exist if Victor along with a few others had not taken the steps 51 years ago to form our band. Not only then but over the years the support Victor gave to us was unparalleled.
“As a chairman and a leader he guided us through difficult times. Many of us as young men were running the streets and he talked to us and accepted us into the band and made us part of this special family.”
The statement added, “He always had an understanding way. He soon told you off but he always was there as a friend and indeed a father figure to us all. We in the band have all our own special memories of him and what he meant to us all.
“It was great to see him attend our 50th anniversary dinner last year where he sat like the boss he always was watching over us all, never criticising but always supporting and it was an honour to parade in our new uniforms supplied by him and his family at Victor Stewart Enterprises this year.
“He was always proud of us and we as a band were always proud of him and always will be.”
Meanwhile, Upper Bann PUP tribute described Mr Stewart as “a pillar of the unionist community for many years now in the town” and said his loss will be keenly felt.
They added, “Victor was also a committed family man and our thoughts are with them as they come to terms with his passing.
“Victor will be well remembered by many as a true son of Ulster and someone who was always willing to help those in our community who needed it.”