Scottish lodge pays tribute to late mayor

Patricia and Charlie Johnston pictured during last year's Twelfth celebrations. INCT 28-125-GR
Patricia and Charlie Johnston pictured during last year's Twelfth celebrations. INCT 28-125-GR

A former first citizen of Carrickfergus has been warmly remembered during the Twelfth weekend.

Charlie Johnston was the final mayor of the historic borough before it merged into Mid and East Antrim.

He passed away in February at the age of 64.

A visiting Scottish lodge was among those who paid tribute to Mr Johnston, a former member of Woodburn LOL 787, earlier this month.

Brethren from Springburn LOL in Glasgow travelled to the borough for the Twelfth celebrations, visiting the former Mayor’s graveside in Victoria Cemetery.

A well-known figure in the town, Mr Johnston’s absence was sadly noted during this year’s Twelfth, said his daughter Charlene Johnston Reid.

“A lot of people came up to me and said how much Dad would have enjoyed the day. It did break my heart,” she said.

The family have also taken steps to keep Mr Johnston’s grave tidy following reports of maintenance issues at the cemetery.

“There was grass, some weeds and dandelions growing up around the grave, so I borrowed a push lawnmower and cut it myself,” Charlene said.

“I don’t mind doing it as it’s my dad, but I do feel for other people who don’t have any family to maintain the graves. I know [the council] mightn’t have the manpower to do it.”

In an earlier statement, Mid and East Antrim Council had apologised for any upset to relatives over the condition of an area of Carrick’s Victoria Cemetery.

“Our staff are very conscious of the sensitivities within a cemetery and we are currently cutting the grass every two weeks,” a spokesperson said.

“At this time of year growth rates can result in many flower heads on plants such as dandelions and we do apologise if this upsets some of our visitors.”