ONE of Ballymoney’s best known and most respected residents Mr John (Shaun) Esler has passed away in hospital. He was in his 70’s.
Mr Esler, who lived at Cherry Gardens, was best known for his work for charity, particularly the Causeway Cardiac Support Group of which he had been chairman.
He was also chairperson of the N.I. Cardiac Patients Forum and was chairman of Friends of the Armor Day Centre in Ballymoney.
His commitment to charities was immense not only in practical fund-raising terms but in lobbying politicians and health chiefs with the interest of patients and members always at the forefront.
Local councillor Bill Kennedy said he had known Mr Esler for years and described him as a real gentleman who never stopped working for his charities.
Cllr. Kennedy said: “Shaun was a real goer and never allowed his own health problems to stop him from campaigning. He will certainly be remembered for his fund-raising as well as for the way he led the various Groups he was part of.”
Mr Esler worked for Rank Hovis and McDougal for 35 years and after retirement became a pension visitor, visiting 120 pensioners of the company.
He worked part-time for Ballymoney Borough Council and last Christmas acted as Santa Claus in a Main Street store.
Asked once what qualities he most admired in a person, he said: ‘Good sense of humour, honesty and good timekeeping.”
He also said that if he could change just one thing in the world it would be the current financial crisis.
He admitted he did not have any patience and said his motto in life would be ‘Good Health and a long life.’
Mr Esler recently featured in this newspaper’s ‘Person of the Year’ competition, an indication of his good standing and popularity in the community.
His endearing personality and enduring passion for his charitable causes made him a highly respected figure who will be sorely missed in Ballymoney and beyond.
Sympathy is extended to his wife, Jacqueline, and children, Richard, Paul and Jill.
The funeral took place on Saturday with a service at his home before interment in Ballymoney Cemetery.