Community pays tribute to Cllr Paul Hamill

Community groups from across Antrim and Newtownabbey have paid tribute to the borough’s former Mayor, Cllr Paul Hamill.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 12:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:58 pm
Cllr Paul Hamill.

The DUP councillor, who was first elected to represent the Macedon DEA in 2014, served as first citizen for the 2017/18 term.

News of his passing broke yesterday (Tuesday). Mr Hamill (46) had been receiving treatment in hospital after contracting Covid-19.

The Rathcoole man had been a pastor at Belfast City Mission in the estate before entering politics.

Expressing sadness, William Logan, the church’s Executive Secretary, said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of our former missionary and dear friend, Paul Hamill.

“Paul had a lifelong connection with the Belfast City Mission in Rathcoole, attending the Boys’ Brigade and other youth organisations as a boy. He served with great pride and distinction as the missionary in the hall from 2003 to 2014. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn his passing. He will be deeply and sorely missed by our whole mission family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ruth, Grace, Sarah and all the family at this time.”

Mr Hamill had a long association with sports clubs across the region and had played for 4th Newtownabbey Football Club.

Posting on social media, a club spokesperson said: “It’s with great sadness that we learn of the passing of one of our past members, Paul ‘PACO’ Hamill. Our thoughts are with all his family at this sad time. RIP.”

Monstown Boxing Club also took to social media to pay their respects.

A spokesperson for the Cashel Drive club said: “Extremely saddened to hear of the passing of our friend, Cllr Paul Hamill.

“Paul was such a sincere, genuine servant to his community and beyond and a huge supporter of all our work.

“Our deepest sympathy to Paul’s family, children, friends and colleagues. You will be sorely missed. From everyone at Monkstown Boxing Club.”

Rathcoole-based community support group, Listening Ear, paid an emotional tribute to Mr Hamill.

A spokesperson for the group, based in the Dunanney Centre, said: “It is with sadness and heavy hearts that we have heard of the passing of Cllr Paul Hamil.

“Paul was an unassuming man who worked hard for Macedon ward. Our deepest sympathy to Paul’s family friends and colleagues. The Lord is my shepherd.”

Tributes have been paid to the DUP man from across the council chamber and political spectrum.

DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, said: “Paul was a hard-working and dedicated representative for the people of the Macedon area and his loss will be keenly felt. Having served as Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Paul was known and respected right across the community.

“Paul brought wide experience to his role as a public representative having worked in industry before spending many years as a pastor. Those skills and experience made him an invaluable part of our council team.

“We in the Democratic Unionist Party have lost a dear friend and colleague, but my thoughts are with Paul’s wife Ruth, his children and the wider family circle. They will be in our prayers as Ruth mourns her husband and the girls try to understand the loss of their daddy.”

South Antrim Alliance MLA John Blair said: “The news Paul Hamill passed away is terribly sad and a great shock.

“Paul so easily and naturally set aside political differences to work with everyone in council and will be greatly missed. My sincere sympathy goes out to his family, friends and DUP colleagues.

“I knew first-hand his dedication to the community, and I will forever remember the great effort he made as Mayor when I had children from the Chernobyl region visiting host families in the borough. This is only one example of the good work he did.”

Antrim SDLP Councillor Roisin Lynch said: “It is heart-breaking news to learn that our colleague Cllr Paul Hamill has sadly passed away. Paul was always a pleasure to work with on council. He was a genuinely good person and very good company at all times. Paul worked for everyone and was very highly thought of.

“He will be missed by everyone on Antrim and Newtownabbey Council. My thoughts and prayers are with Ruth, the girls, his family circle and his DUP colleagues.”

Sinn Fein Airport DEA Councillor Anne Marie Logue said: “Saddened to hear of the passing of Cllr Paul Hamill. A true gentleman who I will miss on council committees.

“Thoughts and prayers are with his wife, children, family, friends and party colleagues. He will be fondly remembered for his work in community relations.”

Independent Ballyclare DEA Councillor Michael Stewart said: “Paul was one of the kindest, gentlest men you could ever wish to meet. Always generous with his time, he was one of the first members of council to welcome me and offer his support when I first took my seat for Ballyclare in the chamber at Mossley Mill.

“For that thoughtfulness, I will be eternally grateful. I will always remember Paul’s smile, his integrity and his remarkable energy. His commitment to council and the local community he served was an inspiration to us all.”

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Billy Webb MBE JP has opened an online Book of Condolence in memory of Cllr Hamill.

The Mayor said: “On behalf of my colleagues and all the residents of the borough, I offer my sincere condolences to Paul’s wife Ruth, daughters Grace and Sarah, sister Wendy, mother Ann, and to his wider family circle and friends. I have opened an online Book of Condolence and invite anyone who knew Paul to pay tribute to his memory.”

If you would like to leave a message, visit www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/CouncillorPaulHamill

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Click here to read Tributes paid following death of former Newtownabbey Mayor, Cllr Paul Hamill

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