Tributes paid to kidney charity co-founder

Mr Walter Kerr
Mr Walter Kerr

The funeral of well-known charity fundraiser, Mr. Walter Kerr, was held yesterday (Monday).

A lifelong resident of Waringstown, Walter founded the Northern Ireland Kidney Research Fund (NIKRF) alongside his late wife, Josie.

His funeral was held on Monday afternoon at Donacloney Presbyterian Church.

Across the decades, Josie and Walter raised thousands of pounds for lifesaving research into kidney disease. Mr Kerr was organiser of the popular Waringstown Vintage Cavalcade, held every year in aid of the Northern Ireland Kidney Research Fund.

Walter, his wife Josie and Ford Arnold started the event back in 1972 and it grew to become one of the biggest local fundraisers of the year.

News of Mr Kerr’s passing was carried on the Waringstown Vintage Cavalcade Committee’s Facebook page.

Paying tribute, local MLA Carla Lockhart said: “Very sad news about the death of Mr Walter Kerr. A gentleman who leaves a lasting legacy with regards to Kidney Research. My thoughts and prayers are with the family as they come to terms with this great loss.”

John Brown, Chairman of Northern Ireland Kidney Research told the Leader that the cavalcade is the backbone of the charity’s fundraising.

He said: “Walter has been a leading light in organising the Waringstown Cavalcade. Walter with his interest in vintage lorries and tractors really attracted a big following for people coming to attend.

“It is our major source of income and collection, it nets us quite a bit of money every year. Vital money to help with kidney research in Northern Ireland.

“Walter was farmer, a gentleman, a quiet unassuming man and a lovely man. He was dedicated to the cause of kidney research.

“He was the backbone of the charity in County Down and County Armagh.”

Kidney Resarch Campaigner and former MLA Jo-anne Dobson described Mr Kerr as a ‘trail blazer, a gentle giant and a father figure’.