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Renowned lawyer and host of Money Programme was a close friend of Ian Paisley

Obituary

Published 14/06/2016

Neil Clive Oliver who has died aged 73
Neil Clive Oliver who has died aged 73

Neil Clive Oliver, well-known corporate lawyer and public speaker, has died aged 73.

Mr Oliver was born on November 23, 1942, in Ealing, London, but he later moved to Northern Ireland and made the region his home.

He studied at Queen's University and served as the Chairman of the Conservative and Unionist Association before graduating with an LLB in 1968.

Mr Oliver went on to work in the investment world, owned two financial companies and became a corporate consultant lawyer, but it was his work for the BBC Money Programme that brought him into the public eye.

In the late 1970s, he presented several editions of the successful show.

Mr Oliver particularly enjoyed being a contributor to John Bennett's BBC Sunday Club, where he was given free rein to air his talented and humorous rhymes.

He had a strong belief in the principles of unionism throughout his life and entertained political ambitions, like his cousins Richard and Raymond Ferguson, who were both unionist politicians.

The lawyer maintained a strong connection to Fermanagh, the place where his mother, Irene Oliver (nee Ferguson), was born, and he served as chairman and president of the Fermanagh-based William Ferguson Memorial Clan Society.

He also made friends with prominent figures including the late Lords Bannside and Fitt, Lady Sylvia Hermon and a number of chief constables.

Mr Oliver firmly established a reputation as raconteur and accomplished public speaker. He was once chosen as a substitute for Ian Paisley at a packed Monday Club in the Palace of Westminster. The lawyer reportedly performed most creditably as a substitute for his dear friend.

While Mr Oliver focused essentially upon money and money-making and encouraged others to be involved in sound investing, he was additionally a supporter of many worthy causes, including the relatives of victims of the Omagh bombing, Parkinson's UK, the RUC GC band, the Ulster Orchestra and more.

Throughout his life, he enjoyed listening quietly to music, had a fascination with history and all kinds of transportation and collected a substantial library.

Mr Oliver was also devoutly religious and read the Bible from cover to cover several times over.

He died with little warning in the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, just two weeks post-admission, on Thursday, 19 May, from metastatic intra-cranial disease (inoperable tumours on the brain).

He is survived by his older brother, the Reverend Mervyn Pascal Oliver, niece Esther and her husband, Gareth Hamilton, his nephew Arthur Oliver-Brown, and great-niece Olivia Hamilton.

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