Mr. William (Billy) George Simpson

Published: 13 Sep 2012 15:150 comments

William George Simpson, best known as Billy, passed away in the County Care Home on August 6, 2012.

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Billy was born on April 6, 1932 at Bryansford Gardens, Newcastle, County Down. He was the only son and younger child of a family of two of the late Robert and Frances Simpson. Billy was educated as Newcastle Primary School. Later he attended Down High School in Downpatrick from 1944 until 1950, travelling there by train each day. Billy's ambition was to become a pilot. He was offered a place at RAF Cranwell in England, to train to become a qualified pilot. Unfortunately due to family circumstances he was unable to go. Eventually Billy went to Stranmillis Training College, Belfast and was there from September 1951 until June 1954. While there, he studied Physical Education, Education, Mathematics, Geography, English, Drama, Art and Religious Instruction. Then Billy went to England to study for a year, and he received a diploma from Loughborough College of Physical Education, Leicestershire in 1955.

Billy started his teaching career in Ballynahinch Secondary Intermediate School (all boys classes) from September 1955 to June 1957.

Then Billy moved to Enniskillen Secondary Intermediate School (now renamed Devenish College) and taught Physical Education throughout the school, occasionally teaching general subjects. Billy remained there until he retired.

During his teaching career Billy coached the school's Basketball and Athletics teams. He assisted with the school Yacht and Canoe Club and was associated with all the school's dramatic productions as stage electrician. He organised a school trip abroad and with other teachers took a party of children to Blankenberge in Belgium.

Billy was a very calm and patient person and he was always willing to help when needed. He had a good knowledge of First Aid, and on a few occasions, especially when he was on holiday, he used this knowledge to help in an emergency which proved to be life saving until a medical team arrived.

Billy led a very active life. He had been a member of Enniskillen Amateur Dramatic Society, he played rugby for and trained the Enniskillen Rugby Club for six years. He was a very fast runner and his nickname was Speedy. He had been a member of The Royal Observer Corps for seven years. Billy's love for flying never ceased. He eventually qualified to fly and he received his pilot's licence.

Billy's late wife Regina Henderson, best known as Gina, was born at 9 (now 14) Church Street, Enniskillen. She taught in Ashfield Girls' Secondary School, Belfast from September 1958 until June 1963. During a school break in 1961, Billy met his future wife at a dance in The Townhall, Enniskillen. They were married on August 7, 1963 in St. Bartholomew Parish Church, Stranmillis Road, Belfast.

Gina returned to Fermanagh, teaching initially in Lisnaskea High School and then she moved to Enniskillen Secondary Intermediate School where she became Head of the English Department.

Billy was a real gentleman and a very devoted husband. Gina and Billy had similar interests. They were avid readers, enjoyed travelling, swimming, photography, going to the theatre, speaking various languages especially Italian and they made many friends in different countries. They had a very fulfilling and happy life together.

On June 8, 1998 Billy was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, which he accepted with great courage and dignity and he never complained throughout his illness.

On September 4, 2010 Billy had to be taken to Ward 9 in the Erne Hospital where the staff looked after extremely well. On February 27, 2011 Billy was moved to the County Care Home. This was a difficult time for Gina. She visited him every day until she became unwell and she passed away suddenly in the City Hospital, Belfast on November 8, 2011.

On August 6, 2012 Billy passed away.

The funeral service, conducted by the Rev. Alistair Warke, took place in St. Macartin's Cathedral, Enniskillen. An Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading and Psalm 23 were read.

The hymns were "O Lord My God! When I in Awesome Wonder!" and "The Day Thou Gavest Lord Has Ended".

Interment was in Breandrum Cemetery.

Billy is predeceased by his wife Gina, his sister Maureen and her husband Jimmy McLister, Finton-on-Sea, Essex. He is survived by his sisters-in-law Margaret Henderson and Freda Henderson, and cousins.

The funeral arrangements were carried out in a most dignified and caring manner by S.R. Elliott and Sons, Enniskillen. Donations in lieu of flowers are being made to Cancer Focus NI, care of S.R. Elliott and Sons.

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