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Banbridge man awarded MBE for services to housing passes away

A past pupil of Portadown College, Bert's many interests and achievements are chronicled on the school's alumni website, a testament to his successes in business, sport and community service

Bert Wilson. Photo credit:

Tributes have been paid following the weekend passing of a Banbridge man who was awarded an MBE for services to housing in 1994.

Thomas Albert Wilson MBE or ‘Bert’ as he was known, died peacefully at his home on Saturday (January 6).

He was the dearly beloved husband of Anne and devoted father to Mark, Paul and Jane. He was also the much loved father-in-law to Susan, Matt and Barry and cherished Grandpa of Ellie, Molly, Anna, Joy and Miles.

Bert’s funeral service took place on Monday in Holy Trinity Parish Church, Banbridge, which was followed by a private cremation.

A past pupil of Portadown College, Bert’s many interests and achievements are chronicled on the school’s alumni website, a testament to his successes in business, sport and community service.

As part of the Prep Department, he attended the school from 1946 to 1957, where he was Deputy Head Boy, House Captain, Queens Scout and Troop Leader, representing Ulster at the World Scout Jamboree in Canada 1955.

“He was also Captain of Athletics and Senior Champion. He was awarded colours in rugby and athletics in 1954, 1955 and 1956. He won the N. Ireland “AAA” high jump championship in 1955. He obtained a good senior certificate including a high mark of 95% in Technical Drawing (first place in N. Ireland)”, his profile reads.

Bert qualified as an Environmental Health Officer upon leaving school, eventually being appointed Area Manager in Craigavon on the creating of the Housing Executive in 1972.

He took a “major role” in setting up the organisation in the area, being promoted to Regional Housing and Planning Manager for the Southern Region in 1979.

Bert became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Housing in 1989, before he awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 1994 for his services to housing in Northern Ireland.

He retired from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in 1995.

Bert had a huge number of interests outside his career, being involved in a large number of sporting, musical and community groups.

A keen sportsman, he played rugby for Portadown and North, with his senior playing career cutting short early due to injury. He then refereed for 15 years under Portadown RFC.

He was also a Trustee of Banbridge Golf Club, having been Captain and President in 1978 and 1988-1990 respectively.

A lover of music, Bertie played piano and was the President of the South Ulster Concert Band for over 30 years. He also served as Vice-President of the Portadown Ladies’ Choir.

Bert also became Commissioner for Cub Scouts in Banbridge on moving to the town in 1967. He was subsequently awarded the Medal of Merit for his 16 years of service.

He also took interest in church and community life, serving his church at Parish, Diocesan and General Synod levels. He also supported a number of Masonic charities.

House private and no flowers. Donations in lieu may be sent if desired to William Bell & Co Funeral Directors 23 Kenlis Street, Banbridge, BT32 3LR for Chest, Heart & Stroke and Parkinson’s U.K N.I. (cheques made payable to William Bell & Co).

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