‘A bittersweet occasion’ was how the family of the late Ballymoney charity fundraiser Shaun Esler described a recent private ceremony during which his widow was presented with her husband’s British Empire Medal (BEM).
Joan Christie, the Lord Lieutenant of Co Antrim and official representative of Queen Elizabeth II presented the BEM to Mrs Jacqueline Esler at a special ceremony last week.
Shaun was nominated for his tireless work with 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.
He had been aware that he had been nominated for the BEM but was sworn to secrecy. It was only when he was very ill that he disclosed the good news to his family.
Sadly, Shaun passed away in June and never got to attend the presentation ceremony in Hillsborough Castle to receive his medal with other recipients.
Shaun’s daughter-in-law Donna told the Times: “Atending the ceremony in Hillsborough would have been too much for Jacqueline in the circumstances so the powers-that-be were able to arrange for Mrs Joan Christie to come to the house and make the presentation.
“In her official speech it was wonderful to hear Shaun recognised for all his charity work but it was a bittersweet occasion as one moment we were all beaming with smiles and then we had the pang of missing Shaun as he would have been so chuffed to have received that medal.”