TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Limavady Mayor and UUP Councillor, who has passed away.
On Sunday, January, 20, Robert Ian Andrew Grant, formerly of Bolea Road, died peacefully at Cornfields Care Centre where he had spent the last eight years of his life.
The former First Citizen was laid to rest last Tuesday (January 22) at Christ Church in Limavady where a service was conducted by Reverend Canon Sam McVeigh.
Robert, or Ian, as he was more commonly known, was described by Reverend McVeigh as a “kind” and “generous” man who believed in hard work and adored his family.
He said:“I met him 30 years ago last December when he was a Parochial Nominator for the parish.
“He was on the board of nomination and he said that whatever happens, he would be a friend of mine for life.
“Ian was also involved in the Select Vestry, the Diocesan Council, the general synod and he was a church warden for years.
Reverend Mc Veigh continued: “We thank God for his commitment to his church, his community and his children which were the 3 Cs he once told me that dominated his life.”
Meanwhile, TUV Councillor Boyd Douglas said: “Ian was someone with experience who worked tirelessly on behalf of all ratepayers with vigour and enthusiasm.
“He will be sadly missed by his family and friends but he will also be remembered for his service and commitment to the wider community in the Roe Valley.”
Ian was born on May 3, 1927 in Ballylevin, Newtowncunningham, Donegal.
He and his younger sister Doreen walked approximately three miles to school every day where they both learned Irish which Ian never forgot.
The family moved to Oakfield Farm, Derrybeg, Limavady in 1936 where he learned the art of farming.
According to his family, Ian loved working on the farm and had a fine dairy herd of Friesian cows whilst priding himself on his ability to plough.
Coming from the farming community, Ian felt the need for an air ambulance was vital and this was a cause close to his heart.
He attended the Ogilby School in Limavady before moving on to further education at the Limavady Grammar.
Ian always had a great interest in sport and played football for Glenburn.
He took the shortest route to the pitch through the fields with his football boots slung over his shoulder where he joined his friends.
His cousin Billy Roulston recalls many happy memories of playing along with Ian during the summer holidays.
In 1955, Ian married the love of his life, Evelyn Townley. The couple had four children; John, Harold, Elaine and Doreen.
Known as a great family man, Ian loved spending time with his children and among their fondest memories is the many walks they shared along the river.
Later, when his family were grown, Ian found the time to get more involved in the community. He became a Councillor and served on Limavady Borough Council for over 20 years.
During that time he delighted in helping people from all sections of the community in any way that he could.
Ian served on many committees including the Board of Governors of five local schools, the Western Health and Social Services Trust, the Bowling Club, the Milk Cup, Limavady Show, Education Committee and various church boards.
Some of the highlights in his career included meeting the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, in 1994-95 while Mayor of Limavady to commemorate the anniversary of D Day.
Ian also had the privilege of attending a garden party at Buckingham Palace and visiting Washington DC with the council.
In his latter days Ian enjoyed nothing more than reminiscing about his roots in Donegal and loved to visit his birthplace.
He revisited his childhood love of poetry and delighted in reciting the many poems he had learned including “The man from God knows where” which was a firm favourite. He also loved to tell his grandchildren the story of notorious highwayman Cushy Glen.
His family feel blessed and are thankful to God for the wonderful memories they have of a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather.