Respected police officer dies after a long illness

The late Drew Coid.
The late Drew Coid.

A RESPECTED retired police officer who hailed from the borough has died in hospital after a long illness.

Detective Sergeant Andrew (Drew) Coid was originally from Glengormley and educated in the town’ s Public Elementary School and thereafter at Ballyclare Technical School.

After working for a short spell in the Royal Victoria Hospital laboratory, he joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in October 1952, serving in Feeny, Londonderry, Kells, Dunmurry and Portglenone before moving to Portadown.

He was stationed in Portadown from 1963 to 1976 and loved the town so much that he refused to leave after a bomb was planted at the front door of his Kingsway Drive home in 1974. It is believed that loyalists were behind the incident - and that the alert Mr Coid knew who were responsible but proving it was another matter.

It was during his time in Portadown - where he was promoted to Detective Sergeant in Special Branch - that he really shone, with the outbreak of the troubles and so many bombings and murders in the area.

Despite the mayhem, he was able to reach out to all sections of the community.

Two years after the home bomb incident, he transferred to Belfast International Airport where he was Head of Security, still with the RUC, and played a pivotal role in the security of the entire province. He moved at that stage to live in the Ballymena area.

He was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) for his services to policing - it was presented by Sir Norman Stronge, who was later an IRA victim - and he also did some expert security work with the FBI in America.

Mr Coid remained at the airport until he retired in October 1995.

He is survived by his wife Anne, whom he met and married during his time in Portglenone, daughter Jillian, and by his son Richard and his wife and daughter, Denise and Anna. He is also survived by his sister Fally Fowlstone in Vancouver.

Drew Coid was a very talented musician, playing just about every musical instrument, including the tin whistle, harmonica, flute, banjo, guitar, trumpet, accordion and many more. He played mainly at charity concerts.

He was also heavily involved in the Masonic and Probus movements and was a faithful member of St Patrick’s Parish Church in Ballymena.

The church was filled to overflowing for the funeral service, conducted by Canon Stuart Lloyd and Curate Brian Lacey. Burial was at Ballyclug Cemetery.