Canon John Bell: Respected churchman and expert in beekeeping
A former long-serving Church of Ireland rector has been remembered as a friend and mentor following his death.
Canon John Bell, a past rector of Holy Trinity Church at Drumbo, Co Antrim, died on Christmas Day at Belfast City Hospital.
His funeral service will be held at Christ Church, Kilmore, tomorrow at 11.30am.
The current minister of Holy Trinity, Rev Mervyn Jamison, said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Carole and the family. Canon Bell was very well thought-of in our parish. He has been very kind to people of the parish even in retirement."
Bell-ringers from the parish will take part in his funeral service, and tributes have been paid by local church-goers.
Sally King described the former rector as a "friend, mentor, supporter, encourager, guide", while Elizabeth Corriston called him "a gentleman".
Canon Bell retired from the ministry in 1998. He had been rector of Drumbo in the Down diocese since 1970. He also served as treasurer of Down Cathedral.
And he was president of Killinchy Beekeepers' Association.
David McCartney, administrator at the Church of Ireland's Aslan Centre in Belfast, said: "We at the Aslan Centre are sorry to hear of the passing of the Reverend Canon John Bell.
"John was beekeeping mentor to our community eco project when it commenced in 2005 - a great friend, a most generous beekeeper.
"John was a true friend and a generous and thoughtful mentor when I commenced beekeeping."
The Aslan Centre in Knocknagoney facilitates reconciliation in the community.
It operates a project to enhance the local ecological environment.
Canon Bell is survived by his wife Carole, sons Christopher, Stephen and David and grandchildren Rebecca, Hannah, Casper and Francesca.
After tomorrow's service, led by the rector of Kilmore and Inch Stephen Smyth, he will be interred in the adjoining cemetery.