Mourners gather to say farewell to long-serving councillor

Cecil Calvert on parade in Crumlin in 2012.
Cecil Calvert on parade in Crumlin in 2012.

Former mayor of Lisburn Cecil Calvert was a “hard-working individual and an inspiration to many”, his funeral service has heard.

Family, friends and former colleagues gathered at Lisburn Free Presbyterian Church on Wednesday morning for a service of thanksgiving for the life of Mr Calvert, who passed away on Friday, March 9.

Cecil Calvert on parade with Stoneyford Temperance LOL 1253 in 2011.

Cecil Calvert on parade with Stoneyford Temperance LOL 1253 in 2011.

Mourners heard how Cecil Calvert was born into a hard-working farming family and learned “the Christian work ethic which was to become a motivating principle in his life.”

Rev Thomas Martin spoke about Mr Calvert’s early life, education, career and love of motorcycle racing - a pastime that regularly took him to the Isle of Man for the TT races.

He spoke about his working life at the Belfast Ropeworks, on the family farm and later as a security guard at Lagan Valley Hospital.

“All his life he was a fully committed, hard-working individual and an inspiration to many,” the minister said.

The service heard how Cecil had met his wife Eleanor when they were at primary school and started dating when they were teenagers.

“They were engaged quite soon after, with Cecil having to sell his prized pig for £32 in order to buy the engagement ring! Marriage followed and Eleanor and Cecil celebrated some 55 years together,” Rev Martin said.

A long-serving DUP councillor, Mr Calvert quit the party in 2007 and joined the TUV before later running for election as an independent. He was first elected to serve the Killultagh DEA in 1985 and was mayor of Lisburn in 2004 - 2005.

Referring to his political career, Rev Martin added: “There was little reward politically or financially yet Cecil kept with his convictions and principles. For 26 years he served as a Councillor, Alderman and Mayor in the Borough of Lisburn.”

Mr Calvert was a dedicated member of the Orange Order, Royal Black Preceptory and Apprentice Boys. He held various offices at Stoneyford Temperance LOL 1253 and was a Past Master of Pond Park RBP No. 13.

A man who was actively involved in many aspects of community life, he also had links with Stoneyford Accordion Band, the Ulster Grand Prix Supporters Club and served on the Board of Governors at three local schools.

Rev Martin concluded: “No matter how much Cecil Calvert accomplished or enjoyed in this life – there was no greater time or experience for him than when as a young man of 15 years in Derriaghy Mission Hall, Cecil received the Lord Jesus Christ as his own and personal Saviour.

“Because of that day when Christ saved his immortal soul, this day is very different. Cecil Calvert is very much alive!”

Mr Calvert was married to Eleanor and had three daughters, Jill, Avril and Charlotte.

The funeral service was followed by a private family committal.

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