Belfast Telegraph

Willie Frazer remembered as ‘true Ulsterman’ at funeral

William Frazer, 58, died on Friday following an illness.

The funeral has taken place for prominent victims’ campaigner William Frazer.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, UUP leader Robin Swann and TUV leader Jim Allister – and loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson – were among the mourners who attended the service at  Fivemilehill Pentecostal Church in Bessbrook, Co Armagh.

His coffin was draped with a union flag.

bpanews_6288a211-4362-4e9a-b790-c1aa524696fa_embedded2469302
Crowds gathered at Fivemilehill Pentecostal Church in Bessbrook, Co Armagh for the funeral of prominent victim’s campaigner William Frazer. (Rebecca Black/PA)

A forthright campaigner for victims of republican violence, Mr Frazer’s father Bertie and several other family members were killed by the IRA.

He set up the group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) in 1998 to support victims of republican violence.

Mr Frazer had many supporters in the loyalist community, but was seen as divisive by many republicans and nationalists.

He once said he had received enough death threats in his life to paper the walls of his house with them.

One of his longest campaigns had been aimed at securing justice for the families of 10 Protestant workmen shot dead by republican gunmen at Kingsmill in south Armagh in 1976.

His funeral today heard his coffin passed the point in the road where the infamous shooting took place on the way to the gospel hall.

Many of the Kingsmill families attended the service.

The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
Campaigner for victims' rights Willie Frazer loses long battle with cancer. Mr Frazer was the leader of Markethill-based victims' group the Family Research and Policy Unit (FRPU). Previously, in 1998, he founded Families Acting for Innocent Relatives (Fair) to provide support for victims of republican violence.
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
Relatives arrives for the Funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
A single piper plays at the Funeral of Willie Frazer outside Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Joe Frazer (c) arrives for the funeral service of his brother Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
People arrive for the funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
Rev Mervyn Gibson
Gregory Campbell MP
Jim Allister MLA
People arrives for the funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
DUP leader Arlene Foster
The Frazer family's Pastor Barrie Halliday and DUP Leader Arlene Foster Campaigner for victims' rights Willie Frazer loses long battle with cancer.
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
The Funeral of Willie Frazer takes place at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
People arrives for the funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of victims' rights campaigner Willie Frazer at Fivemilehill, Pentecostal Church, Bessbrook. July 2019
People arrive for the funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
People arrives for the funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
People arrive for the funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
The funeral of Willie Frazer at Five Mile Hill Full Gospel Fellowship Church on the Maytown Road, County Armagh, Monday July 1st, 2019. (Photo by Paul McErlane for the Belfast Telegraph)
The Frazer family's Pastor Barrie Halliday

William was fearless and he never gave up on fighting for justice Arlene Foster

Mrs Foster was among those who addressed the mourners, recalling Mr Frazer, who she had one time represented as a lawyer, as someone who fought for justice.

“We have heard today that William was fearless, and he was. William was fearless and he never gave up on fighting for justice,” she said.

“Despite all the hatred and and all the bile that was directed at him from republicans, he kept going.

“We have all lost someone who was witty, original, unvarnished yes, but was very much the real thing.

“I will very much miss William for many reasons.”

Pacemaker Press 28/7/2015 Willie Frazer attends court, as Frank McGirr appeared at Armagh Court. Pic Pacemaker
Pacemaker Press 28/7/2015 Willie Frazer attends court, as Frank McGirr appeared at Armagh Court. Pic Pacemaker
Willie Frazer attends the long-awaited inquest into the Kingsmills massacre. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Flag protesters gather at Belfast City Hall to protest against the Union Jack not being flown from the City Hall except for designated days. Willie Frazer. Picture Mark McCormick 29/11/14
Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer at the launch of New Party (Protestant Coalition) at La Mon Hotel outside Belfast Picture Pacemaker.
Willie Frazer outside Laganside Court. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye
Loyalist protesters including Willie Frazer outside Tennent Street Police Station. Picture: Kevin Scott
Willie Frazer addresses the families of the ten protestant workmen, shot dead by the IRA at the scene of the massacre on the Kingsmills Road in south Armagh for a memorial service to mark their passing. Photo by Alan Lewis.
Willie Frazer at the International Peace wall, Northumberland Street Belfast while Sinn Fein unvail a new mural to Gerry Adams. 03-05-2014 Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life
Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer at Belfast High Court where he was appearing regarding a case he has taken against the Respect MP George Galloway. Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye
Union Flag protester Willie Frazer launches a new Protestant Coalition Party after the descision to remove the Union flag from flying at Belfast City Hall
Union flag protester Jamie Bryson at Laganside Court in Belfast with Willie Frazer. Picture Colm O'Reilly Sunday Life 06-06-2013
Willie Frazer and Colin Worton (left), whose brother was killed, attend the inquest of the Kingsmill massacre. Pacemaker Press 08/06/2016
Willie Frazer in 2017. Picture: Philip Magowan / PressEye
Loyalist Jamie Bryson punches the air as he leaves court after being given a six-month suspended sentence. Supporting him at court was victims' campaigner Willie Frazer. Photo by Alan Lewis.
bpanews_6288a211-4362-4e9a-b790-c1aa524696fa_embedded226413550
Victims campaigner William Frazer and Beatrice Worton, whose son Kenneth was among those killed in a sectarian massacre of 10 protestant workmen in 1976 near the Co Armagh village of Kingsmill (PA Archive)

Independent councillor Paul Berry also addressed the funeral, describing Mr Frazer as “fearless”, a “true Ulsterman” and urged that someone “takes up the mantle” in his absence.

“To his last breath, he continued to fight for justice,” he said.

“Willie may be gone, but his legacy will live on.

“Those who try to rewrite history must not be allowed to go unchallenged. I trust someone will take up the mantle.”

Mr Frazer died at the age of 58 on Friday after losing his long battle with cancer.

He is survived by his wife Ann, son Phillip and wider family circle.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph