Community Unites to Mourn for Tom Benson; Warm Tributes to Ex-RUC Politician

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), December 29, 2000 | Go to article overview

Community Unites to Mourn for Tom Benson; Warm Tributes to Ex-RUC Politician


Byline: ROSS McKEE

UNIONIST politicians of various hues were among hundreds of mourners who paid their final respects to the first Assembly member to die, at a moving funeral ceremony yesterday.

Strangford MP John Taylor, Environment minister Sam Foster and Belfast Lord Mayor Sammy Wilson were just some of the dignitaries who gathered at Movilla Presbyterian Church, Newtownards, to remember the life of Tom Benson.

Heavy snow left First Minister David Trimble stranded in London and unable to fulfil his role of reading at the service.

Mr Taylor replaced Mr Trimble, adding his own personal tribute to the Strangford MLA.

''Tom was a great colleague and friend in Strangford and a great pillar of strength during a difficult period for Northern Ireland,'' he added.

''I am delighted to see people from all denominations and political parties here. Tom worked hard for all the people of Strangford.''

In his address, the Rev David Porter described how Mr Benson had served in the RUC for 31 years before carving out a career in politics. …

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