Obituary: Peter Copeland

Kieran McCarthy MLA, Charles Kennedy MP, and Peter Copeland, at Alliance Party election fundraiser, 5 November 2003, Culloden Hotel, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

Alliance News
January-March 2010

Peter Copeland (4 July 1939-17 January 2010)

Peter Copeland from Newtownards was born on 4 July 1939 and died suddenly on 17 January 2010 as a result of a severe stroke.

He attended Regent House School and went on to Queen’s University, Belfast, where he studied economics. After graduating, he joined Hugh Smylie and Sons before he entered the family firm — the Ulster Print Works. Following the change in ownership of the firm he found a new career in personnel management and was a lecturer in that subject at the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher education until his retirement in 1999.

Peter had a quiet but engaging manner but this did not mask his capacity for making many lasting friendships nor his loyalty to his family, church, town or his ever present willingness to help others. These traits were amply demonstrated by his service in the eldership of First Presbyterian Church, Newtownards, and in the interest he took in his visitation duties and by his service as a past treasurer of the church.

In the wider community, Peter was currently vice-chair of the Newtownards Citizens Advice Bureau, the honorary treasurer of Ards Historical Society, and in the past honorary treasurer of the Institute of Personnel Management. He was a founder member of Newtownards Round Table and was an active member of the 41 Club. Peter was a staunch supporter of work in improving community relations and for many years gave much of his time and support to the work of the Alliance Party both locally in the Strangford constituency and at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Peter was a very capable musician. A fine clarinet player, he regularly played with the Ards Choral and Orchestral Society and in recent years he enjoyed making music with the Playing for Pleasure Orchestra where he was a very popular member.

A keen sportsman, he was a fine squash player but particularly hone in the golfing world. He was an enthusiastic member of the Royal Belfast senior cup team and was proud to have been a member of the team which contested the final of the Irish Senior Cup at Killarney against Royal Dublin. He was honoured by the Royal Belfast Golf Club with the captaincy in 2007.

These few facts give little indication of Peter the person: as devoted family man, member of the church, musician, sportsman and one who sought to serve the community in so many ways.

Peter will be remembered by his family as a devoted husband to Margaret, proud father to David, dear father-in-law to Kate and loving grandfather to his grandson Edward. He will also be remembered by the wider community as a wonderful friend and colleague in so many areas of life. He is and will be sadly missed.

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