18/10/2010

UUP Military Cross Politician Mourned

Condolences have been expressed to the family circle of the late Captain Austin Ardill MC, an MP for Carrickfergus in the former Stormont Parliament.

East Antrim MLA Ken Robinson was commenting on the sad news and said: "All who met with Austin were immediately struck by his sense of dignity, friendship and acute political awareness.

"He was part of the generation who had survived the Second World War with fortitude and were fired with a determination to make things better in its aftermath. He had suffered as a POW on the Greek island of Leros during part of that global conflict and was awarded the Military Cross," said Ken.

"On a personal note, it was Austin who first encouraged me to join the Ulster Unionist Party and I followed his advice by joining the local branch in Greenisland in the 1960s. His late wife, Molly, was also involved in political life as an active member of Carrickfergus Council as well as serving alongside me on the North Eastern Education and Library Board for many years.
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"His daughter Betty and I were both Primary School Principals on the Shankill Road, frequently exchanging over the years ideas on how the educational opportunities for children in that part of the city could be enhanced. Both she and her brother Robin are in our thoughts at this sad time.

"While Austin's passing has brought a great sorrow to his family and friends, his legacy of political involvement on behalf of this community over the years will be recalled with gratitude by the many people who met him and came away the better for that meeting," he said.

The Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Tom Elliott and Ulster Unionist Chairman David Campbell have also paid tribute to the late Captain Austin Ardill MC, a former Ulster Unionist MP who sadly passed away last week, describing him as "a passionate unionist and a courageous individual".

"Captain Ardill will be remembered as someone who was a passionate Unionist, a life-long member of the Ulster Unionist Party and an individual who made a huge contribution to politics in Northern Ireland.

"He represented Carrick in the old Stormont Parliament, where he was Secretary of the 1966 committee of backbenchers.

"Throughout his political career, Captain Ardill played a vital role in the development of the UUP, trying to encourage more young people to get involved in politics and wanting to make Northern Ireland work in what were troublesome days," said Mr Elliot.

(BMcC/GK)

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