Belfast Telegraph

Ex-mayor Calvert who carried Union flag at US St Patrick’s parade passes away

By Rebecca Black

Warm tributes have been paid to a former Mayor of Lisburn who once carried a Union flag through a US city at a St Patrick's Day parade.

Veteran unionist councillor Cecil Calvert died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast on Friday.

The Lisburn man was a long-serving DUP member, but later in his career went on to join the TUV.

His life will be celebrated at a funeral service tomorrow.

TUV leader Jim Allister described his former colleague as an "individual of great character".

"He was fearless in standing up for what he believed to be right and was not cowed by popular opinion if it was contrary of his view," he said.

"That often is the mark of a man of substance in terms of character. I want to convey to his wife Eleanor my condolences at this time of loss."

And the DUP's Edwin Poots added: "Cecil was a very hard-working, dedicated councillor. I have many happy memories of good times with him on Lisburn City Council. I extend my prayers and sympathies to Eleanor, his children and grandchildren."

Mr Calvert's background was as a farmer in rural Co Down. In his younger days he served with the Ulster Special Constabulary.

He later entered politics, joining the DUP and going on to serve on the then Lisburn Borough Council for more than two decades, having first been elected to it in 1985. He served as Mayor of Lisburn in 2004/05.

He hit the headlines in 2005 when he carried a Union flag during a St Patrick's Day parade in Seattle.

Mr Calvert resigned from the DUP in 2007 over the party's decision to enter power-sharing government with Sinn Fein.

He subsequently joined the TUV, but resigned from that party in March 2011.

Mr Calvert will be laid to rest tomorrow following a service of thanksgiving for his life, to held in Lisburn Free Presbyterian Church.

In a death notice, Mr Calvert's family asked for no flowers, but requested instead that donations be made, if desired, to the Whitefield Bible College.

Mr Calvert is survived by his wife Eleanor, and daughters Jill, Avril and Charlotte.

Belfast Telegraph

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