'Father of the House' laid to rest amid warm tributes from Paisley and council

LONG-STANDING councillor Wilfred McFadden was remembered as a man with a "special smile" at his funeral service last Tuesday.

Thursday, 18th February 2010, 1:59 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2010, 1:44 pm

Hundreds of mourners packed into Banbridge Free Presbyterian Church to bid farewell to the “Father of the House”, known as Wilfie throughout the district, who died on Sunday February 14.

Tributes were paid to the 76-year-old by various mourners including the Reverend Ian Paisley and Banbridge District Council’s Chief Executive Liam Hannaway.

Rev Paisley, a long-time personal friend of Councillor McFadden, spoke of his shock at the sudden nature of Wiflie’s death.

“I did not think on Saturday evening when I talked to my dear brother that I wouldn’t be talking to him again until the glorious morning of resurrection glory.

“But thank God while we can’t talk, we can both hear the same thing,” he said.

“I always remember our brother because he had a special smile. In the day of difficulty, and the day of argument, and the day of difference he smiled even better and that took away a lot of hard things from people’s minds.”

Wilfie had experienced various health problems in the past year, including a leg amputation some months ago but had recovered well in recent weeks.

The night before his death he attended the fortieth celebration of Banbridge Free Presbyterian Church, where he was Clerk of Session for many years.

Mr Hannaway spoke at the service, which was performed by Rev William Whiteside, on behalf of the council where Wilfie had given 46 years service as a DUP councillor.

Calling him the “grandfather” and “elder statesman” of the council, Mr Hannaway paid tribute to a good friend and a trusty work colleague.

“I would like to thank Mary and the McFadden family for giving me this opportunity to speak this afternoon on behalf of Wilfie’s colleagues and friends at Banbridge District Council,” he told the congregation.

“Councillor McFadden was held in such high regard by everyone within the organisation. Having served in local government from 1964 he had a wealth of knowledge and experience which made him an invaluable support and confidant to many of us.

“On a personal note Wilfred travelled with me to and from meetings in recent years as his health failed him. He was great company and his stories and memories made many a journey pass in the flash of an eye. I will cherish the many good times we had together.

“We all know that he has gone on to a better place and we will miss him. But we will also cherish the memories we have and the lessons which he has taught us through the way he lived his life,” he added.