‘He was mayor for the people’

A poignant tribute from council staff at the mayor's parlour in the Town Hall. INCT 09-703-CON
A poignant tribute from council staff at the mayor's parlour in the Town Hall. INCT 09-703-CON

Carrickfergus Borough Council has adjourned its monthly meeting in memory of the late Mayor, Alderman Charles Johnston.

The local authority took the decision to postpone the meeting until next Monday evening after members had the opportunity to voice their own tributes in the chamber.

Ald Johnston passed away last week at the age of 64 following a long battle with cancer.

Proposing the adjournment was Councillor Billy Ashe, who extended his sympathies to Ald Johnston’s family on behalf of the DUP grouping on the council.

“Charles Johnston knew of his condition before he took up the position of mayor [last year],” Cllr Ashe said.

“He carried out his duties diligently and professionally despite the suffering he was going through.”

Ald Johnston’s 30-plus years of service on the council set a solid example for younger members, said Cllr John Stewart. Speaking on behalf of his Ulster Unionist Party colleagues, he added: “Charlie was almost like a big brother when I first came onto the council, and we all took advantage of the years of service that he had.

“It is the last term of office for the mayor in Carrickfergus Borough Council and it was certainly fitting for Charlie to do that.

“Our thoughts are with the family circle at this time.”

Commending the Mayor’s bravery in facing his illness was Cllr Noel Williams. “Charlie served this council and the people of this borough to the utmost of his ability. H e was an example to all in what was his eleventh hour,” the Alliance Party representative said.

A final tribute was given by Ald Jim Brown, who served as Ald Johnston’s deputy in 1985. “His theme then as it was now was not to be mayor for a party or a cause, but to be the people’s mayor,” Ald Brown said. “It is fitting this evening that we remember, reflect and we rejoice in saying that we knew Charlie Johnston. I would say to the people of Carrickfergus that we have lost a good servant and a firm friend.”