Shaftesbury Park tribute to last mayor of Carrick Borough

Family, friends and colleagues at Shaftesbury Park for the tribute to the late Alderman Charles Johnston. INCT 42-200-AM
Family, friends and colleagues at Shaftesbury Park for the tribute to the late Alderman Charles Johnston. INCT 42-200-AM

The civic contribution of the last mayor of Carrickfergus has been recognised at a service in Shaftesbury Park.

Family and friends were in attendance as a plaque was unveiled and a tree planted in tribute to former councillor Charlie Johnston, who died earlier this year after a battle with cancer.

Patricia, Max and Harry Johnston plant a tree in remembrance of Alderman Charlie Johnston at Shaftesbury Park. INCT 42-203-AM

Patricia, Max and Harry Johnston plant a tree in remembrance of Alderman Charlie Johnston at Shaftesbury Park. INCT 42-203-AM

Rev Dave Clements, who served as chaplain to Mr Johnston during his term as first citizen, led the memorial service with a prayer and bible reading.

Those assembled, including former Carrickfergus Town Clerk Sheila McClelland, Mid and East Antrim Councillor Cheryl Johnston, former Whitehead councillor Isobel Day and local government representatives, were addressed by East Antrim MLA David Hilditch.

A former councillor who served with Mr Johnston on the former Antrim Street authority, Mr Hilditch said the service was to “show gratitude, respect and admiration for the work and sterling service given by Charlie to local government in general and Carrickfergus Borough Council in particular”.

He added: “Charles Johnston began his long and notable service to local Government on the new Carrickfergus Borough Council in 1973. He went on to serve an incredible 32 years as a local councillor for the Knockagh District Electoral Area and during that time held the position of mayor of the borough on four occasions, representing the borough with the upmost professionalism and dedication.

David Hilditch MLA speaking about his former colleague during the service. INCT 42-201-AM

David Hilditch MLA speaking about his former colleague during the service. INCT 42-201-AM

“He sought to build and extend relations whether it be through central Government, the business sector, statutory agencies, our emergency or blue light services and even more so to the local community because Charlie was a people person. To this local community his door was always open, he was dependable and particularly a conscientious constituency worker. The person and their issue were always respected.”

Mr Hilditch went on to say Mr Johnson was also “deeply proud” to be a Freeman of the Borough, “an honour bestowed on him by Carrickfergus Borough Council in recognition of his hard work and dedication to the borough, town and its people”.

After the plaque unveiling by Mr Johnston’s wife Patricia and daughter Charlene, two of his grandchildren helped to plant a tree in the autumnal setting.

On behalf of the family, the former Mayoress of Carrick expressed thanks to all attended for this “very, very fitting tribute”.

Refreshments were served afterwards in the Town Hall. The memorial service was hosted by MEA Council.