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Obituary: Window cleaner Ernie Benson was familiar sight on Belfast's streets

Ernest (Ernie) Benson, who has died on his 68th birthday, was Belfast's favourite window cleaner.

East Belfastman Ernie and his ladders were a familiar sight on the streets for half-a-century. He cleaned windows for housewives and kept a sparkle on the glass of business houses and car showrooms, including Agnew's at Boucher Road.

"Ernie was out on his rounds by 7am," says his daughter Shauna, a solicitor. "He stopped off in British Home Stores for an Ulster fry after work and on a Friday my sister Carrie joined him at breakfast on her way to work.

"Dad's daily routine included meeting me at the Fountain Centre and walking me to my office in Queen Street. I'm going to miss that."

Ernie was cleaning Belfast's windows at the same time as Van Morrison was in the business too. But they never worked together, although he was a fan of Van the Man and was a regular at the old Maritime Club where Morrison launched his career.

"Dad enjoyed the Blues and he was a keen fisherman," adds Shauna. "He and my mum Olive were looking forward to celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in October. He loved his family."

Ernie, who lived at Ladybrook Grove, is survived by his wife Olive, daughters Carrie, Shauna, and Myra, sons-in-law Sean, Colin and Gareth, and granddaughters Erin and Eimear.

His requiem mass was said in St Michael the Archangel Church in west Belfast with Father Murray taking the service.

Afterwards he was buried at Culfeightrin by Ballyroy near Ballycastle where his wife's family have connections.

Prayers were said by Fr Fulton.

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