LONG-serving LEDCOM chairman Arthur Henderson was the worthy recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Larne Business Awards 2012.
He said it was a “full circle” moment to accept the award in the McGarel Town Hall, where he was once employed as a draughtsman.
Married with a grown-up family, Mr Henderson has used skills gathered throughout an industrious working life to the benefit of the whole Larne community.
Following an engineering apprenticeship in Harland and Wolff and three years as a draughtsman, he came to work in the drawing office of the British Thomson Houston factory in Larne in 1953. Their drawing office was situated in the town hall.
A move of direction into the field of training and personnel saw Mr Henderson appointed personnel manager of Michelin in Mallusk and then chief training officer at the firm’s plant in Ballymena.
He spent most of his working life in Michelin, before becoming manager of North East Training Services in Carrickfergus.
Mr Henderson rose to the challenge of a public invitation from Larne Council to assist in the formation of an enterprise company in the borough, as a response to the high level of unemployment and factory closures in east Antrim. He became one of the first group of voluntary directors appointed to serve on the board of Larne Enterprise Development Company and has now given 27 years of unbroken service to this cause, the last 20 of these as chairman.
During this time, he has provided outstanding leadership and commitment with LEDCOM. He consistently is involved in encouraging business start-ups and entrepreneurship in the Larne borough. He continually supports community development and social enterprise through various programmes delivered by LEDCOM and has overseen and been involved in five phases of workspace development for new and growth businesses at both Bank Road and Willowbank.
Mr Henderson has also demonstrated an outstanding commitment and service to the Larne community in a variety of other roles. He has served for 52 years on the board of governors of Linn Primary School, 30 of these as chairman. He also served in the past on the management committee of Larne Technical College, and on the Board of Governors of Larne High School and Antiville Primary.
He participated in Larne Development Forum through membership of the commercial and business sub-committee and also served as a member of the Town Development Project team.
Receiving the award from Bill Crymble of Forever Living, Mr Henderson said: “It is an honour for me to be here this evening in this wonderful town hall and to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It is really in a way full circle because as you say, I did commence my career here in Larne in 1953 working in this very hall. The drawing board on which I worked was halfway down the hall and there are two things I always remember: the chief draughtsman sat on a large stage here (at the front) and of course he was able to look down and watch what was going on, but the second thing was, on the left hand side here was a very large gold-framed painting of Charles McGarel (who funded the construction of the building) and he watched me. I don’t know what he was thinking, but I was very much aware of his eyes being on me.”
Mr Henderson expressed gratitude to those who had nominated him and thanked Forever Living Products, the award sponsor. “I think its very appropriate for someone like Forever Living Products to sponsor a lifetime achievement award,” he added.
“It’s a wonderful award and I am really honoured by it,” he said.