There has been much sadness and regret following the death of Robert ‘George’ Little who was born on October 3, 1940.

George was the first son to parents Robert James ‘Bob’ Little and Sarah ‘Cissie’ Little (nee Scales) in Newtownards while his father was working there on the railways. His family returned to live at Tyralton, Tempo on the family farm soon after. His brother Sam was born 13 months later, and both attended Carrowkeel School. A third brother Albert was born in 1949.

On leaving school, George, fondly known by friends and family as ‘Orgie’, took up employment at John Richardsons Hardware, East Bridge Street, Enniskillen.

Motorbike accident

In 1958, George was involved in a serious motorbike accident not far from home and spent a number of weeks unconscious in hospital with his family fearing that he would not survive. George recovered very well from this accident and he went on to join the Territorial Army in 1959, along with a number of his friends, and was a member of D Coy 5th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

He enjoyed attending training and camps and was a member of the battalion shooting team and enjoyed great success at both local and national levels. He was inspected on parade with the TA during Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother’s visit to Enniskillen in 1963.

On June 2, 1959, he joined Ballyreagh LOL 876 and was a loyal member until his death. He was also a lifelong member of Ballyreagh Silver Band along with his brother Sam from around 10 years of age. George was an accomplished player having started on a Cornet and worked his way up through the instruments to Euphonium and later leading the band as Staff Man for many years before retiring from the road in order to spend more time looking after his wife Violet due to a decline in her health.

George married Violet Creighton on August 19, 1967 at Holy Trinity Church, Crom having met at a dance some years previous and they decided to set up home at Killee, Lisbellaw.

Only a year later, tragedy struck when Georges younger brother Albert died along with a friend, he had been working with, at a slurry tank near Tempo.

In 1970, George and his wife Violet were blessed with a daughter Hazel and he continued to run the family farm and also joined the Ulster Defence Regiment Part Time in the early 70s and served for several years.

As well as farming George also took up employment at Lisnaskea Cheese Factory in the 1980s in the starter department. He also worked with the Department of Agriculture Warble Fly eradication programme for several years as well as continuing to farm part time. He also worked along with several local tradesmen on a casual basis.

On November 8, 1987, George was, as in previous years, attending the annual Remembrance Sunday parade at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen as part of Ballyreagh Silver Band when a bomb went off just before the parade was due to start. Alongside other band members, he rushed to the scene without fear for his own safety and assisted to recover those injured and deceased from the rubble. He was later awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the Royal Ulster Constabulary for outstanding assistance.

George took an active interest in researching the history of the Little Clan and Ulster Scots culture and took many trips over the years to Scotland, England and especially the borders and could trace back the Little family to Langholm where he visited many times and was near the birthplace of Thomas Telford the famous civil engineer.

So intrigued with Thomas Telford, George on his retirement build a replica of a 17th century Scottish manse designed and built by Thomas Telford located at Ballachulish, Lough Leven, Scotland. He was extremely proud of this accomplishment and put in many hours of research to make it as authentic as possible when it was eventually built in 2000.

Long-haul trips

In the 1990s, George undertook several long-haul trips to Canada, America, New Zealand and also countries in Europe, always eager to explore and learn more about the world further afield.

George dedicated himself to the care of his wife after she became disabled in 2002 and confined to a wheelchair and carried out the majority of the household duties in order to care for Violet for the rest of her life.

After suffering a heart attack in 2016, George took life a little easier but continued to take an interest in farming and brass band music.

In May 2019, George’s brother Sam died suddenly, and this had a profound effect on him as it left him as the oldest and last of the siblings and he never quite got over the shock of this bereavement.

In early December 2020, George became unwell with a suspected infection however, surprisingly with no symptoms in particular, this sadly progressed to a Covid-19 positive diagnosis leading to hospital admission and subsequently in deterioration and death on December 16, 2020. During his final hours, Ballyreagh Silver Band music was organised to be played close by his beside to comfort him.

His funeral was conducted by the Rev. Maurice Armstrong on December 20, 2020 and is laid to rest at Tempo Parish Church.

He is survived by his daughter Hazel, grandchildren Matthew, Rebecca and Emily and nephews and nieces.

Funeral arrangements were carried out by Marcus Madill/S.R Elliot & Sons.