Tributes have been paid to much loved local man, Uel Hamilton, who was laid to rest in Derry on Tuesday.
Uel was well known for his involvement with local rescue organisations and was a founding member and President of North West Mountain Rescue Team (NWMRT), as well as the longest-serving volunteer with Foyle Search & Rescue (FSR).
He passed away peacefully in Altnagelvin Hospital on August 4, surrounded by his loving family. Rescue squads gathered in their vehicles on Tuesday to form a convoy accompanying the funeral procession from Uel’s home in the Waterside to Kilfennan Presbyterian Churchfor the Service.
In a poignant tribute to him, his colleagues at NWMRT described him as “one of the most popular volunteers on the team, all of whom talk about him as a true gentleman who dedicated most of his adult life to volunteering in his community and contributing to the saving of lives, not only with NWMRT but also with FSR, who honoured him with a special recognition award for his 22 years of service, earlier this year”.
They added: “He will be sadly missed by all current and former members of NWMRT. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Anne, his family and friends as well as his colleagues in Foyle Search and Rescue.”
The chairman of Foyle Search & Rescue, Stephen Twells, said they too were deeply saddened by the passing of “one of our best-loved volunteers, Uel Hamilton.”
Speaking on behalf of all the volunteers, Mr Twells said: “Uel was a true gentleman, a man who dedicated most of his adult life to volunteering in his community. We were proud to have been able to recognise Uel’s contribution to Foyle Search & Rescue during our gala ball in June, where he received a special recognition award as our longest serving volunteer, having been with us 22 years. “
Mr Twells added that Mr Hamilton was “a character who will be sorely missed by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing and volunteering him. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Anne, his family and friends as well as his colleagues in the NWMRT,” he said.