Tributes to ex-Dalriada teacher Samuel Alex Blair
Tributes have been paid to a Co Antrim historian who "made history come alive".
Samuel Alex Blair's passing has saddened the entire community, including the faculty at Dalriada School in Ballymoney where he taught.
DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said the former English teacher and head of history will be remembered as an "authority on all things past" throughout the community. "We owe him a great debt of gratitude for securing in print and the spoken word the history of many of our churches, organisations, characters and events," he said.
"I can recall many occasions when Alex's trip down memory lane just made the event."
Mr Storey recalled how the man with a "distinct style" and ability to "weave the past into the present" once delivered a talk to the US Consulate when it visited the town, highlighting links between north Antrim and the United States. "He was indeed a man who made history come alive," he added. "The name of Alex Blair will live on."
The former pupil of Dalriada returned there as a staff member in 1965 and soon organised a sixth form trip to Paris which came to establish itself as an annual highlight on the student calendar.
In 1978 the prolific writer produced 'The School called Dalriada' play to mark centenary celebrations.
He also produced The Dalriada school magazine for more than a decade and under his guidance the Historical Records Society hosted exhibitions which often became the centre of focus of the school's speech day events.
Mr Blair was also at the heart of the school's sporting life and proved himself as a meticulous organiser in his role as a public relations officer.
His sharp wit and infectious laugh will be missed by members of Ballymoney Probus Club and the Drama Festival where he served on committees for 40 years.