TRIBUTES PAID TO BANGOR BUSINESSMAN

THE CO-FOUNDER of a Bangor company which built thousands of homes across North Down and Ards over many decades, the late Edwin Dunlop OBE, was a ‘remarkable and inspirational man’.

Mr Dunlop was laid to rest last week at Carnalea Methodist Church when a moving eulogy from his family charted the multi-faceted and rich life he led both professionally and personally. 

Born at Killaire Park in Carnalea on August 29, 1929, Mr Dunlop died on July 30 just a month short of his 94th birthday, following a short illness. 

He is survived by two sons and a daughter, David, Robert and Susan. His late wife, Pauline, passed away in 2014. 

Described as a ‘leader, an innovator and a great communicator’ his family said in his eulogy that ‘everything he did was focused with a single-mindedness to achieve what he had set out to accomplish’.

They said he often declared: “The only time I’m beaten is when I’m not there.”

The middle of five children, Mr Dunlop founded his family building company with his brother Alan, building homes in Bangor, Conlig, Newtownards, Comber, Holywood and Ballywalter. He was also the founder member of the Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing Association.

His position in the industry also earned him an honorary directorship of the local North Down Development Organisation, as a founder member of the body, and he was past chairman of the Construction Employers Federation Housing Committee.  

In 2014 Mr Dunlop was awarded an OBE for his services to the community and had the honour of being presented with the award by the then Prince Charles.

The honour followed years of civic-minded endeavour and volunteering with charities like the NI Chest Heart and Stroke and the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a charity that changes lives through inclusion and exploration onboard the tall ship Tenacious, which he helped build.

Mr Dunlop also supported the Nepal Trust, after visiting Everest Base Camp, and higher, on several occasions, as well as the Osteoporosis Society for which he was a member of the Northern Ireland Committee for many years.

He became a Rotarian in 1968 which later gave him the opportunity in 1971, with the late Wilson Ferguson, to establish Probus Clubs throughout Ireland. He is a double Paul Harris Fellow and became the District Governor of all Ireland in 1993.

In his personal life, Mr Dunlop loved to travel, garden and sing with the Donaghadee Male Voice Choir and ‘generally incorporating himself into the community he was part of, with joining and supporting everything from the Copeland Bird Observatory to Donaghadee rowing club and not forgetting – always shopping local’, according to son-in-law Nigel Montgomery who delivered the family eulogy.

Stressing he kept himself as fit and healthy as he could, swimming every day and setting himself walking targets during the Covid pandemic, Mr Dunlop even did a sky dive for charity to celebrate his 80th birthday.

“As a testimony to his fitness, and stubbornness and determination after suffering a TIA in 2016, at 87 he became a volunteer for Chest Heart & Stroke NI,” said Mr Montgomery.

Describing him as ‘a true gentleman, witty with a great sense of humour, integrity, kind, wise, positive, encouraging, generous and inspirational with a twinkle in his eye’, the eulogy spoke of his role as a loving patriarch of the family.

“He loved his family, and nothing pleased him more than grandchildren and great grandchildren coming to visit.

“He was always prepared and had sticker books, colouring in books, footballs, cuddly toys, and hula hoops with copious amounts of chocolate always waiting. He was truly inspirational to me as a role model of a husband, father and grandfather,” added Mr Montgomery. 

“He was just an incredible father-in-law always ready to share and take advice, never wanting to be a burden to anyone. When I would ask Susan if her dad was coming for Sunday lunch, her normal response would be – only if he doesn’t get a better offer,” he quipped. 

Ending the eulogy, Mr Mongtomery concluded that Mr Dunlop was a’ truly amazing man’ who had ‘an incredible life’. 

“I’m sure you’ll all agree that it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to have been part of it, always loved and now forever missed.”

The family said that if desired, donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke via Mr Dunlop’stribute page at

www.johngrayfuneraldirectors.com.

Mr Dunlop was a great supporter of many charities and to maximise his donation he liked to use Gift Aid and, when possible, the website

www.givingtuesday.org.uk