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Tributes to judge John McKee who was known for his compassion

Tributes have been paid to Judge John McKee, who died earlier this month.

Chairman of the Bar in Northern Ireland Liam McCollum QC said: "John enjoyed an illustrious career at the Bar before being elevated to the Bench, where he was known for his fairness and dedication to the rule of law as a judge.

"In the Trinity term of 1995 John was appointed as a Bencher of the Inn of Court, where he maintained a strong connection with the Bar of Northern Ireland until his death."

Tributes were also paid by the governors and staff of the Presbyterian Children's Society, of which Judge McKee was a governor for 47 years, and he served as president from April 1999 to May 2013.

The PCS works mainly through ministers to alleviate poverty and financial hardship for children and their families, and funding is provided mainly through regular grants throughout the year and exceptional one-off, short-term grants.

The society is currently assisting some 800 children in 415 families in more than 200 congregations throughout Ireland.

Some 25% of the families which receive support live in the Republic, and the society also supports some central Church programmes.

Dr Paul Gray, executive secretary of the Presbyterian Children's Society, said Judge McKee was "deeply committed to its work, and was esteemed by both staff and colleagues on the board of governors".

He added: "He was invariably judicious, compassionate, gracious and forward-thinking in the society's work of assisting Presbyterian children and families in financial need, and he helped to guide the society through a period of significant change."

Honorary secretary of the society Nathan Todd described Judge McKee as "a man of wisdom, integrity, clarity of thought and kindly disposition who set the tone, not just for the board but for the society in general and the governors, staff and recipients all owe him a deep debt of gratitude."

In 1997 the society changed its name from the Presbyterian Orphan Society to the Presbyterian Orphan and Children's Society, and again in 2016 to the Presbyterian Children's Society.

A thanksgiving service is being held on Friday at 1.30pm in Killinchy Presbyterian Church, of which Judge McKee was a member.

He is survived by his wife Annette, children Peter, Neil and Judith, and by the wider family.

Belfast Telegraph

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