YMCA family ‘devastated’ at death of popular mentor

Tributes have been paid to Terry Watson, who was the back bone and inspirational leader of the YMCA in Portadown.

Terry Watson.
Terry Watson.
Terry Watson.

Mr Watson, who died on Sunday evening, has been praised as a mentor to many young people in the Portadown area and beyond.

Big T, as he was better known, was one of the key drivers in building the new YMCA building in Jervis Street.

A spokesperson for the YMCA in Portadown said: “The YMCA Portadown family are devastated to learn that Terry Watson; our mentor, inspiration, leader and dear friend has sadly passed away.

“Terry was the Leader in Charge at YMCA Portadown from 2004 - 2010 when he retired due to ill health. Big T, as we affectionately knew him remained a good friend to the YMCA, our staff and to many of those he supported.

“In life, I think we can all look back and think of someone who made a huge positive difference in our lives. For many of us, Terry was that person. He leaves a legacy in Portadown greater than he will have ever known.

“The vision for our new building was birthed by Terry. The international youth exchanges inspired and encouraged young people to lift their eyes beyond their horizons and raise their aspirations in life.

“He pushed our staff and volunteers towards education and training leaving a legacy of staff and young people still working at YMCA today.

“He cared for young people deeply and worked tirelessly to provide resources and opportunities for them.

“He was a big man but his physical size was dwarfed by his even bigger character. He had the best sense of humour and had an unrivalled ability to tell a good story.

“Those of us who were so fortunate to have worked with Big T, we could talk for hours about the fun and laughter we all enjoyed when we were in his company but what sticks out the most was his quiet wisdom and advice that to this day still guides us.

“Our hearts are sore at the loss of our friend, but we look back and thank God that we had the joy and privilege of sharing part of life’s journey with Terry.

“To Ann, Kelly-Ann, Brian, Terry and the wider family, we know you have lost the linch pin of your family and our words will bring little comfort, but please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers as you walk a difficult path without Big T.”

Regional Director of the YMCA and local Cllr Darryn Causby said: “In life we meet people who inspire, encourage and help pull out your best, Big Terry was one of those people for me!

“I credit much of my career to this man who mentored and guided me he even kicked my backside when I needed it!

“One of life’s gentlemen, I could talk for hours about him and the fun and laughs we had! Totally devastated by his passing, but I have been fortunate to have walked part of life’s road with him!”



Anger as man receives ‘serious injuries’ in stabbing Read full story here-



Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a copy of the paper. You can also support trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription of the News Letter.