Tributes paid to ‘great Ballyclarian’

Poignant tributes have been paid to former Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band member, Billy Baird, following his passing last month.

Billy's funeral was held on August 1.
Billy's funeral was held on August 1.

Mr Baird, who was a well-known member of the community in the Rashee Road area of Ballyclare, passed away peacefully at Ballyclare Private Nursing Home on July 22.

A post on the Funeral Times website described him as the “loving and devoted husband of the late Joyce and brother of the late Alfie, devoted brother of Robert, Margaret and Raymond and a much-loved uncle.”

A service of thanksgiving for his life was held yesterday (Monday) at Ballyclare Presbyterian Church followed by private family cremation.

Posting on the Love Ballyclare Facebook page following the service, Cllr Michael Stewart said: “It was a privilege and an honour for us to share a special Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Billy Baird with Billy’s family and many friends.

“There were tears but it’s the wonderful stories of Billy’s wicked sense of humour; his thoughtfulness and generosity of spirit, his friendship and kindness; and his tireless work for his beloved Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band who played so beautifully for him during the service, that we’ll always remember.

“Billy was Billy. A man of uncompromising honesty and integrity who loved his family deeply; was loyal to his friends; and was always there, steadfastly standing by his gate, ready with a smile and a wave, with time for everyone who passed by. Billy we’ll miss you but you’ll never be forgotten. You were our gentle giant. A great Ballyclarian.”

Paying tribute, a spokesperson for Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend Billy Baird. Billy, or as the band knew him ‘Big Billy’ was many things to us, a great friend and member and constant supporter.

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“Every band member, past and present, always looked for Billy standing at his gate ready for a chat. Billy you will be missed by all in the band and we want to thank Billy’s family for donations going to the band.”