Heartfelt tributes have been paid to the late George Young (90), a former principal of the Enniskillen Collegiate Grammar School (1976-1997) and much-revered figure in Fermanagh education.

He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at the weekend at his home at Cooper Crescent following a short battle with cancer.

Leading family tributes was George’s youngest son, David, who said: “We will miss dad every day – his wisdom, his kindness and his unwavering love.

“He was our anchor, rock, and moral compass, but we are so blessed to have been able to call him our father.”

David continued: “We will mourn him as we should, but we can also be content that he lived his best possible life.”


George with children Helen, David and Ian (standing) at the Round O

George with children Helen, David and Ian (standing) at the Round O


Born to a working class family in Belfast, George won a scholarship to attend Methodist College before winning a scholarship to Queen’s University Belfast where he studied Classics.

George began his teaching career in Aberdeen before teaching Classics at the Collegiate in 1955 for 10 years. He later taught at Portadown College before returning to the Collegiate as principal in 1976.

He married wife Edna in 1966, and the pair welcomed three children: Ian, Helen and David. George was devoted to his wife, who passed away in 2015.

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David added: “He was dedicated and devoted to her. Dad was her sole carer for many years, and when she moved to the Millcroft, he visited her every day, twice a day, without fail the entire time she was there.

“He got a special wheelchair van to bring her up to the house so they could sit on the porch. He petitioned the Council to get the kerbstones at the Round O flattened so they had better access for the wheelchair.”

George enjoyed post-retirement travelling and frequently travelled to Australia, England and Egypt and other locations around the world.

David recalled one of his father’s final trips. “One of his final epic trips came at the end of 2018 when dad joined Ian and Helen and their families to see in the new year in Rome.

“To ease touring the various sites, dad was plonked in a wheelchair, with Ian and Callum [George’s grandson] often putting in the hard yards pushing him over the notorious cobbled streets of the Italian capital, to ensure he was taken to every possible site of historical relevance. In Rome, you can imagine this was quite a feat!

“We laughed in recent days, as we recalled how each time dad spotted a Latin inscription, he would direct that his chair was pushed up close, whereupon he would leap up to his feet, Lazarus-like, and stride over to translate it aloud before returning to his chair to let his breathless pushers resume their toils.”


The late George Young

The late George Young



In addition to the classics, George had a great love of all literature.

David said: “Language and reading was his main occupation, P.G Woodhouse was his favourite author.

“During lockdown, he obviously was in isolation on his own in the house, and took it upon himself to reread the entire works of Shakespeare to pass the time.

“It took a few weeks, and then he moved on to the next, which was Dickens.”

George had a great love of sport, including badminton, football and golf. Speaking about his hobbies and interests, David added: “Dad was a keen golfer; he was a proud member of EGGS – the Elderly Gentlemen’s Golfing Society at Enniskillen Golf Club.”

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Paying tribute to George’s professional life was his friend, former colleague and successor as Principal, Kate Doherty, who said: “Education in Northern Ireland and especially in Fermanagh owes George Young a great debt of gratitude.

“Those of us who knew him – and that includes generations of pupils – had the privilege of seeing a man who lived out the principles and values dear to his heart, and surely today we are all diminished by his passing.”

Speaking of his role during turbulent times, Miss Doherty said: “So many pupils had their lives impacted by The Troubles, and his compassion for them shone through in his own quiet, understated way.”


Elizabeth Armstrong, George Young and Kate Doherty

Elizabeth Armstrong, George Young and Kate Doherty



The funeral service for George Young took place at Ballycassidy House on Tuesday afternoon and was followed by private cremation.

Funeral arrangements were carried out by W. T. Morrison Funeral Directors.

George was predeceased by his wife, Edna, and is survived by his children: Ian (Rachel), Helen (Simon) and David (Kerri), and his six grandchildren: Callum, Kirsten, Danny, Conor, Martha and Rose.