RATHFRILAND solicitor Gordon Bell will be remembered as a highly polished and successful master of his profession.
These were the words of District Judge Mr Paul Copeland addressing a packed courtroom at Banbridge Magistrates Court last Thursday.
The court was packed to capacity as the local legal profession gathered to pay their respects to the Rathfriland man who had practiced law for over 60 years.
He passed away on May 8 and the court was adjourned for 45 minutes as a mark of respect.
In court to hear the glowing tributes to his father was Mr David Bell, who also practices in Rathfriland.
Mr Copeland said, “I had the privilege and pleasure of him in my court for over 11 years. His career had taken him to highly polished and successful mastery of his profession. He was highly respected by all who worked with him.
“Speaking on behalf of the judiciary, I can say Mr Bell commanded and deserved the respect and esteem of us all.
“He was a thorough and principled solicitor with rock hard integrity. He encouraged young solicitors and barristers treating all with equality, respect and good humour. He was an exceptionally able practitioner and a daunting opponent. He pursued his client’s commitments with zeal.
“Gordon bell was an outstanding figure in law in this jurisdiction and we are diminished by his passing. I extend my deepest sympathy to his son David who is a well known and respected practitioner and the entire family.”
A spokesman for the Newry and Banbridge Solicitors Association recalled how Gordon practiced in all local courts and in earlier days sitting in court in Rathfriland.
“Some of his pleas were legendary. he also had a keen interest in amateur football. He was witty and droll with a great sense of humour. He was great fun to be with and mischievous.
“He was a totally honourable man to deal with and looked after his clients exceptionally well.
“He was the man many of is aspire to be. He was looked up to and someone who will be sadly missed. We will never see his like again.”
Senior member of the bar Mr Patterson described Mr Bell as “approachable and courteous.”
“He was a kind and committed person and the legal profession in this community will be much poorer for his passing.”
Miss Campbell, speaking on behalf of the NI Court and Tribunal service extended her sympathy to David and the entire Bell family.
“He was an absolute gentleman and mischievous wouldn’t cover the half of it. He will never be forgotten.”
David Bell addressed the court and thanked everyone for their “kind words and wonderful tributes”.
“If he was here today he would have thought this was a suitable summary, so your words are greatly appreciated.”
The packed court room gave a round of applause and the court for adjourned as a mark of respect.