Robin McIlwain: veteran newspaper photographer was ‘big part’ of east Antrim community

Tribute has been paid following the death of veteran east Antrim newspaper photographer Robert (Robin) McIlwain.
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Robin, who was also a past chair of Islandmagee Community Development Association, died peacefully at home on Saturday (November 25).

A notice on the Funeral Times website said he was the “much-loved husband of Dorrie, loving father of Nora and Olga and father-in-law of Gareth”.

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In a message of sympathy to the McIlwain family, Islandmagee Community Development Association (ICDA) said: “So sorry to hear of the passing of our former chairperson and member. Robin was a big part of the ICDA. Our thoughts go out to his family at this time.”

Robin McIlwain. Photo: National WorldRobin McIlwain. Photo: National World
Robin McIlwain. Photo: National World

Echoing these sentiments, former Mid and East Antrim Mayor, Maureen Morrow said: “Sorry to hear this sad news. Robin was a lovely gentleman. Sincere sympathy to Robin's family.”

Robin’s 20 years as chair of ICDA included helping to oversee vital stages in the Gobbins cliff path regeneration project. He also served for a period with Larne Community Safety Partnership and was much respected in the east Antrim area. His photographs accompanied many important news and sports stories over the years.

Editor Valerie Martin said: "Robin was a very familiar figure throughout east Antrim covering all aspects of community life. He was most closely identified with Newtownabbey in his latter years behind the lens and was highly regarded for his affable and professional manner.

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"His easy going nature and love of a chat also made him a popular figure with his colleagues in the Larne Times series. Our condolences go to his family at this very sad time."

Don Horner of Ballyclare Comrades FC presenting photographer Robin McIlwaine with a life membership for his coverage of Ballyclare Comrades over the years. Photo by: Freddie ParkinsonDon Horner of Ballyclare Comrades FC presenting photographer Robin McIlwaine with a life membership for his coverage of Ballyclare Comrades over the years. Photo by: Freddie Parkinson
Don Horner of Ballyclare Comrades FC presenting photographer Robin McIlwaine with a life membership for his coverage of Ballyclare Comrades over the years. Photo by: Freddie Parkinson
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Keen on sports photography, in particular, in 2007 Robin was presented with life membership for his hard work and coverage of Ballyclare Comrades Football Club.

A service of thanksgiving for Robin McIlwain’s life will be held in Kilcoan Church, Islandmagee Presbyterian, this Thursday, November 30, at 1.30 pm and afterwards to Islandmagee New Cemetery.

Donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, were invited to either Marie Curie Nurses or N.I. Hospice c/o S & J Irvine Funeral Directors, 31-35 Irish Quarter South, Carrickfergus, BT38 8BL (cheques made payable to either of the above charities; card payments via telephone on 028 9335 1540 during office hours 9-5 p.m.).