Chairman’s death ‘a very sad loss for Ballyclare’

Tom Gray, long-serving chairman of Ballyclare Community Concerns, who sadly passed away on September 28.
Tom Gray, long-serving chairman of Ballyclare Community Concerns, who sadly passed away on September 28.

Tributes have been paid to the chairman of Ballyclare Community Concerns, Tom Gray, who died suddenly at the weekend.

The 70-year-old passed away at his Mill Road home on Saturday, September 28.

Mr Gray worked as an industrial chemist and later as a private tutor. He helped set up Ballyclare Community Concerns (BCC) and was instrumental in guiding the organisation over many years.

“Tom served as chairman of Ballyclare Community Concerns and Ballyclare Community Enterprises for over 13 years and was an inspirational and visionary member of the board,” a statement issued by the BCC directors said.

“Tom oversaw the move of the charity from temporary accommodation to the state-of-the-art community building on the Doagh Road. He had a great heart for improving the lives of everyone in Ballyclare and the surrounding areas and he will be sorely missed by the staff, directors and users of Foundry House.”

Alliance councillor Pat McCudden, who served on the BCC board alongside Mr Gray for more than a decade, commented: “He was a real gentleman and I was very sorry to hear about his death. This is a very sad loss, not only for his family, but for his friends and the local community. My thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Alderman Paul Girvan, who worked with Mr Gray as a director of BCC, said that news of his death had come as a real shock.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time. Tom was a hard worker and he was very well respected. He’ll be sadly missed by the whole community,” the DUP man said.

Former UUP councillor Vera McWilliam, who also served on the board at BCC, added: “Tom was a lovely man and he did an excellent job to keep Ballyclare Community Concerns going.”

A service of thanksgiving for Mr Gray’s life was due to take place at Ballyclare Presbyterian Church on Thursday (October 3).

Rev Robert Bell, who was due to officiate at the service, commented: “Tom really did give great leadership to the Ballyclare Community Concerns board and worked hard to keep it all going until the new building (Foundry House) was achieved. He put an enormous amount of work into things and I think that is something that is widely recognised in the local community.”

Mr Gray is survived by his wife Ann and children Stephen, Simon, Gavin and Anna.