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Sir Reg's tribute to Lady Clark (88), wife of top unionist

By Cate McCurry

Published 09/11/2016

Former Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey
Former Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey

Tributes have been paid to the wife of a former leading unionist and Orangeman who has died at her Co Down home.

Lady Nancy Catherine Clark (88) passed away on Saturday, some 25 years after the death of husband Sir George Clark.

The mother-of-one, who was originally from Upperlands in Co Londonderry, was described as a "charming lady" who was a consistent supporter of Sir George in his prominent roles throughout Northern Ireland.

Former Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said they were a "staunch unionist family".

"I was very sorry to hear of her passing, and a number of her colleagues were also saddened by the news," he said.

"She supported her husband in all of his political endeavours and she also, like many women of her generation, played a part in politics when it was not the most popular pastime, particularly people of her generation where they had to raise families and look after the home.

"They were a very staunch unionist family and her husband was also a leading light in the Orange Order.

"He represented the old-style, 'big house' unionism that existed in those days.

"She wouldn't have been playing a prominent role, though she was a consistent supporter, and a charming lady as well."

A service of thanksgiving for Lady Clark, whose maiden name was also Clark, will take place in Saintfield Parish Church next Tuesday, November 15.

She is survived by her daughter Elizabeth and grandchildren Henry and Georgina.

Sir George, 3rd Baronet, was elected for the Ulster Unionist Party in Belfast Dock at the Northern Ireland general election in 1938.

He lost his seat at the 1945 election.

In 1954 he was appointed High Sheriff of Antrim.

In 1957 he became grand master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, filling the position for 10 years.

From 1958 to 1961 he was the imperial grand president of the Imperial Grand Orange Council of the World.

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