Great and good gather to celebrate life of David Anderson who ran Queen's Northern Ireland household
The former household manager of Hillsborough Castle was hailed "an extraordinary man from an ordinary family" at a celebration of his life yesterday.
David Anderson - who ensured the Queen, four Prime Ministers, 12 Secretaries of State and the Dalai Lama were put at their ease over a quarter-of-a-century - was hailed as "the most notable hospitality manager in Northern Ireland" at the event in Belfast.
Speaking at the Europa Hotel celebration, Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary Peters described Mr Anderson as "such an important part of Northern Ireland life, so it is important that his friends and family mark this occasion and I am delighted we have the opportunity to do so".
Some 350 guests were in attendance at the memorial service led by Canon Michael Irving, Deputy Lieutenant of Gloucestershire.
Canon Irving told the gathering: "David and I first met at Hillsborough Castle. I was in his company for 15 or 20 minutes and it felt like I had known David Anderson all my life. He was a remarkable man. He had a great gift of friendship.
"He had friends from all walks of life. You always felt better for having been in his company. He was an extraordinary, ordinary man. He brought love and laughter to all our lives."
Mr Anderson was instrumental in opening Hillsborough Castle to the public, creating a programme of events including exhibitions of silverware from 10 Downing Street and a display of the Queen's gowns.
There was a Bible reading by North Antrim MP Ian Paisley, who spoke of the honour of reading at David's memorial service, before a rendition of Amazing Grace by singer Peter Corry.
Tributes from dignitaries were read by ex-PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, who shared memories of former guests including Lord Peter Mandelson, the former Northern Ireland Secretary, who said that Mr Anderson had welcomed him and his partner to Hillsborough Castle accompanied by their two "untrained, messy" puppies.
In his message, Lord Mandelson said: "With successive Secretaries of State passing like ships in the night, David was a fixed point of knowledge and continuity, always with charm and humour."
He recalled how the Dalai Lama and his entourage had required breakfast at 3am, which David organised.
He indicated that their first meeting was when the George Cross was bestowed on the RUC.
"I was always struck by his warmth and humility and attention to detail," added Lord Mandelson.
The Queen was represented at yesterday's tribute by Lord Lieutenant for Belfast Fionnuala Jay O'Boyle.
Other tributes were conveyed on behalf of Lord King of Bridgewater and Lord Murphy.
Mark Anderson described his brother, a father-of-three, as "an extraordinary man from an ordinary family".
"The Anderson family home was on the outskirts of Newtownards," he said.
"David was very proud of where he came from and often mentioned this during radio and television appearances.
"He said he had a ringside seat for Ulster politics. We were proud of all his achievements, including his MBE for services to Northern Ireland and MVO for service to the royal family."
Former Labour Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain also paid his own personal tribute to David.
The service was held yesterday, the day before what would have been his 58th birthday.
Mr Anderson, who also worked at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, died in August after a short illness.