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Obituary: Former Coleraine mayor William James McClure who was confidant of DUP leader Ian Paisley

By Eddie McIlwaine

William James McClure, a DUP stalwart who has died at 88, was a confidant of his former party leader Ian Paisley.

"They were close friends for many years," said Ian Paisley Junior.

"And when dad went to prison in the 60s, leaving mother alone with young children including me, he rallied round and gave us great support.

William served on the borough council in his home town of Coleraine from 1977 and was elected mayor on two occasions.

"He was a DUP chairman for 25 years and was eventually made an honorary President in recognition of of his work for the party and his generosity to it," added Ian Junior.

"He was a true and loyal Ulsterman."

Mr McClure was an opponent of Sunday football. "The Sabbath is for worship not sport," he often maintained.

He was awarded the MBE for services to his home town and was a member of the Independent Orange Order.

"William was a much respected member of the DUP who helped many people in his time both inside and outside the party," says veteran DUP member Jim Wells.

Gregory Campbell, a friend for 40 years, said: "Coleraine people have lost a champion."

Away from the borough council and the DUP, Mr McClure was in the concrete manufacturing trade and he had interests in a nursing home. He also won a Commonwealth Games bowling medal.

He is survived by his wife Isobel, son Ian and daughter-in-law Lyn. His funeral service is due to be held in Coleraine Free Presbyterian Church today.

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