Robbie Butler leads tributes to former mayor of Lisburn Billy Bleakes

Robbie Butier has led the tributes to former Ulster Unionist councillor and Assembly member Billy Bleakes following his death aged 88.

By Mark Rainey
Monday, 18th October 2021, 7:56 pm
Former Lisburn mayor Billy Bleakes
Former Lisburn mayor Billy Bleakes

Lagan Valley MLA Mr Butler said his former party colleague had demonstrated “his ongoing commitment” to the people of Northern Ireland during a career spanning three decades.

“Billy Bleakes was a very well-known figure in Lisburn and in a long political career represented the Ulster Unionist Party on Lisburn Borough Council, serving a term as mayor,” Mr Butler said.

“He was also elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1982.

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“Billy reached out to me when I was first elected to the Assembly in 2016 with words of encouragement. I will always be grateful for his words of advice and his ongoing commitment to the people of Northern Ireland and political unionism.”

Mr Butler added: “His death has been greeted with sadness right across the political spectrum and I would like to send my deepest condolences to his family and many friends.”

Current mayor, Alderman Stephen Martin said: “I am saddened to learn that former Mayor William (Billy) Bleakes has passed away. First elected to Lisburn Borough Council in 1977 he served as mayor of Lisburn in 1988-9 and led the borough through the aftermath of the Lisburn Half Marathon bombing.”

Cllr Martin added: “A former member of the 1982-86 NI Assembly, Billy served on council until 2001 after which his dedication to our community saw him give of his time to support many local organisations, not least as a director of Shopmobility Lisburn.

“We are grateful for our former mayor’s long service and contribution to civic life here in Lisburn.

“On behalf of Joanna, myself & the elected members of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, we send our sincerest condolences to former mayoress Sadie Bleakes on the loss of her husband. Our thoughts are also with his extended family circle at this sad time.”

Mr Bleakes funeral service is due to take place at Hillhall Presbyterian Church on Tuesday (October 19th) at 2pm.

A funeral notice states: “No flowers please. Donations if desired, made payable to RUC Benevolent Fund c/o Ronnie Thompson Funeral Directors, 20 Ballinderry Road, Lisburn, BT28 1UF.

“Will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by his sorrowing wife, nieces Jill and Nicola and their families, also Victoria and Ellie.”