Coronary group founder passes away

Brian Downey.
Brian Downey.

THE Banbridge community came out in force to pay final respects to well-known and respected local resident, Brian Downey, who passed away last week.

Mr Hugh Brian Downey - known as Brian to his friends and family - had battled a long illness with cancer. He was aged 69 and would have celebrated his 70th birthday on June 5 this year.

A packed funeral service was held in St Theresa’s Church, Scarva Road, last Tuesday when the Rev Canon Liam Stevenson gave the address.

Among the mourners were members of Banbridge Coronary Protection Group of which Brian was a founder member, having started up the local support group over 20 years ago following his first heart attack.

After the funeral service, the group paid its own respects by holding a special ‘Night of Reflection’ for Brian’s family.

“It was a lovely evening and was full of stories about my father and photographs of him,” Stephen, one of Brian’s three children, told the Leader yesterday (Monday). “My dad had been very involved with the local coronary group for a long time and really valued the support it gave to members.”

Brian suffered two heart attacks and went on to have a successful quadruple heart bypass operation, but his failing health did not deter him from enjoying life and he was a keen member of Banbridge Angling Club for many years.

He also enjoyed gardening and took pride in growing his own vegetables after ill health forced him to retire early from his job at the former Downshoes Factory at Newry Road. He had worked in the cutting room floor of the factory for 32 years.

Married to May Theresa, the couple had three children - Maureen, Catherine and Stephen - and lived in Scarva Street, Banbridge, and Rathfriland before moving to Brookfield Avenue in the town.