A stalwart figure in Irvinestown, who throughout his life played an active role in the business and community life of the town, Mr. Charles Douglas Hudson, best known as Douglas, passed away peacefully at Drumclay Care Home, Enniskillen, on Sunday, October 22, 2017. 

The well-known and highly respected nonagenarian, who was a native of Irvinestown and had been one of its most senior residents, was laid to rest last Wednesday, following his widely attended funeral service which took place in Irvinestown Methodist Church, where he held a long time involvement. 

Born on September 26, 1921, Douglas, who had been a very outgoing and very active figure throughout his life, recently marked his 96th birthday. Another recent milestone had been Douglas and his wife Kathleen’s Platinum Wedding Anniversary, which was marked in June, 2015 - 70 years on from their marriage at Colebrooke Parish Church on June 2, 1945.

Douglas, a son of William (Bill) and Eva Hudson, worked in B. Bleakley and Co, his family’s long established business, a grocer’s and hardware store, which spanned the generations and ran for 124 years. Douglas took an active role in the family concern, which later became known as Hudsons, and Kathleen ran a home bakery. He spent a lifetime as a businessman in Irvinestown, retiring only about a decade ago. 

He had been one in a family of five; his brothers Gordon, Gerald and Gilmore Hudson predeceased him. His sister, Stella Campbell survives him. 

Douglas was educated at Victoria Primary School, followed by Methodist College, Belfast. He also went to Queen’s University to study. He worked in the Food Executive Office in Irvinestown prior to going into the family shop.

He and Kathleen, formerly Armstrong, of Derryloman, Irvinestown, made their home in Irvinestown; their two sons are: David, married to Sandra, and William, married to Freda.

The family has a long held tradition in the Irvinestown Fairs and Market Trustees, with Douglas’s grandfather Ben Bleakley having served as one of the first Chairmen. He was followed by Douglas’s father William, a former Chairman, and Douglas, a former Chairman. Douglas’s son William also followed him into the Trustees, and that family involvement continues. Douglas was also involved in the early days of the Community Carol Service. 

Another involvement for Douglas had been as a director of ITEC (Irvinestown Trustee Enterprise Company).

The father of two, who was a JP, enjoyed being an active member of the community, and he achieved recognition with an M.B.E. for services to the community in Irvinestown. Good community relations were always very important to Douglas, who always talked about the one community in Irvinestown. 

Sporting interests were much enjoyed by Douglas, who served as President of Enniskillen Rugby Football Club for five years (1971 to 1976) and he was a former player. A sporting highlight was playing rugby at Lansdowne Road with Collegians. 

Douglas continued his links with Enniskillen Rugby Club until recent years and always loved going to the Saturday lunches, meeting up with his old acquaintances.

In his younger years, Douglas played cricket with Irvinestown Cricket Club, and he also played badminton.

He held a long time involvement and took a very active role in the Methodist Church in Irvinestown, having also taken a very active part in the Methodist Church in Ireland as a whole. He also enjoyed his membership of the Churches’ Forum.

Over the years, Douglas was actively involved in many bodies and organisations. He was involved in Irvinestown Chamber of Commerce and was a former President. In earlier years, he was Chairman of Fermanagh Tourist Development Association and he had been on the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

He was involved in the early days of the Lady of the Lake Festival, being one of the original committee members, and he started the Treasure Hunt in the Lady of the Lake, which was a speciality by him.

He held a long time involvement in the Patients’ Comfort Fund (chiefly at the Erne Hospital), and for many years he organised Christian Aid collections in the Irvinestown area. He also helped with the delivery of library books around to the patients in the old Fever Hospital at Killadeas. 

Douglas, a much loved husband, father and brother, was a grandfather of two, Katherine and Richard, and a great grandfather of two, Kate and Ethan, whom he took a great interest in.

Douglas’s funeral service in Irvinestown Methodist Church, last Wednesday afternoon, was conducted by the Rev. Steven Foster. The Rev. James Rea, a former president of the Methodist Church in Ireland, took part in the service. Two representatives from the Irvinestown Fairs and Market Trustees, Henry Keys and Edward McGarrity did readings. Burial took place at Sydare Cemetery.

Surviving Douglas are his wife Kathleen and sons David (Sandra) and William (Freda). He leaves his grandchildren Katherine and Richard, great grandchildren Kate and Ethan; his sister Stella Campbell and the wider family circle.

The funeral arrangements were by W.T. Morrison, Funeral Directors, Darling Street, Enniskillen.

A spokesman from the town paid tribute to Douglas and said he had played a significant role in the social and economic development of the town.