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Tributes to cleric who had plant named in his honour

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Respected: Rev William McMillan

Respected: Rev William McMillan

Respected: Rev William McMillan

Tributes have been paid to a long-serving minister and horticulturalist who once had a plant named after him.

The Very Rev William McMillan MBE was formerly minister of First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing) in Dunmurry.

He preached there for 42 years and served a total of 54 years in the Ministry. He retired at the age of 80 in 2016.

An award winning floral artist, Rev McMillan was also very well known in horticultural circles.

He took particular pleasure in the fact that the Northern Ireland Group of Flower Arrangement Societies named a hosta after him.

"The 'Rev Mac' hosta was grown in a nursery in Antrim, and is a lovely wrinkled grey/blue," he told the Belfast Telegraph in a 2014 interview.

"Hostas are plants I really admire, and to have one named after you is really something," he added.

In addition to being made a MBE for his services to charity, Rev McMillan was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Award for promoting religious freedom.

He was also an Associate of Honour of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies of Great Britain, and an honorary member of the Garden Clubs of America.

The church in which Rev McMillan preached for more than four decades is one of the oldest in Northern Ireland, tracing its roots back to 1676.

In the 19th century it was associated with Rev Dr Henry Montgomery, advocate of Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform.

Paying tribute to Rev McMillan's decades of service to the local community, Dunmurry SDLP councillor Brian Heading said his death would be felt deeply across the whole community.

"Rev McMillan was very well thought of, and very well respected," the former Mayor of Lisburn said last night.

"His death is a great loss."

Rev McMillan is survived by his wife Sheila, their four children and six grandchildren.

A Service of Thanksgiving for Rev McMillan's life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church (Non-Subscribing) in Dunmurry on January 23 at 1pm.

The service will be followed by committal in the adjoining burial ground.

Belfast Telegraph