Tributes have been paid to Church of Ireland Canon and broadcaster Noel Battye, who has died at the age of 76.
He was the voice of BBC Radio Ulster’s Sounds Sacred for more than 30 years until he retired in April 2018.
Canon Battye also presented programmes for BBC Radio 2, the World Service and BBC One, and contributed to Good Morning Ulster’s Thought for the Day segment.
He was rector at St Finnian’s in the Cregagh area of Belfast from 1980 until his retirement from ministry in 2008.
A Co Waterford native, he was ordained in 1966 having graduated from Trinity College in Dublin. His first post was to St Anne’s Church in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, but he spent the majority of his career in Belfast.
Bishop of Down and Dromore Harold Miller said he had a “superb turn of phrase and a twinkle in his eye, which could be picked up on the airwaves”.
He added: “Although a Waterford man, the vast majority of Noel’s ministry was exercised in Northern Ireland. The parish in which he served longest was St Finnian’s Cregagh, where he had a very effective ministry, characterised by thoughtful, warm–hearted preaching and devoted pastoral care.
“Noel’s knowledge of hymnody and a wide range of Christian music served him well as presenter of ‘Sounds Sacred’ in Radio Ulster for decades.”
Retired Rector John McKegney, a friend and colleague of Canon Battye, hailed him as “a wonderful priest, pastor and a superb communicator”.