Mourners pay tribute to veteran Larne councillor Jack McKee

Jack McKee had suffered ill health in recent years
Jack McKee had suffered ill health in recent years

Tribute was paid to veteran Larne councillor Jack McKee when “hundreds of mourners including townsfolk and politicians past and present” attended his funeral.

The 72-year-old, who had suffered poor health in recent years, passed away on October 4.

His funeral was held in Larne Free Presbyterian Church and he was later interred in Larne cemetery.

TUV leader Jim Allister, who attended the afternoon funeral, said: “It was a large funeral where the church and the overflow hall were full.

“Not surprisingly a lot of ordinary townsfolk attended including councillors from all parties, former and present councillors, and some of his old Assembly colleagues from the 1980s, including Ivan Foster.”

Paying tribute to Mr McKee’s popularity, he added: “Jack was quite a character in his day. Obviously he was very much a family man with his son and daughter and grandchildren.”

Mr Allister added that Rev David Brown from Larne Free Presbyterian Church was the sole participant of the service during which he told mourners “about all the various aspects of Jack’s life including his service in the community, his association with the church and his faith”.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe, also paid tribute to Mr McKee and said: “There will be many across Mid and East Antrim borough who will have fond memories of Jack.”

Mr McKee had served as a Larne town representative for the local authority for 42 years.

He was first elected to Larne Borough Council when the framework of 26 councils was established in 1973, and resigned just before the new 11 merged councils came into operation in April this year.

Earlier this year he received the freedom of the borough of Larne in recognition of his long service.

For more than 34 years he was a stalwart member of the DUP, but resigned and joined the Traditional Unionist Voice in 2007 after the power-sharing deal with Sinn Fein that saw devolution restored.

Mr McKee is deeply mourned by his wife Joan, his children and wider family.

He will also be missed by his brother Bobby, who lost both his legs in a car bomb, who was also a Larne Borough councillor.