The late Tom Boyle MBE has awarded a Lifetime Achievement accolade for his contribution to business in the Larne area over a number of decades.
Paying tribute to Mr Boyle at the gala Larne Business Awards last night, compere Barra Best told the audience that he had left a legacy of positive influence which will carry on for many generations.
The audience heard that the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented only to local people who have made an outstanding contribution to business life in the Larne area over the course of their lifetime.
The award recognises a drive and determination to succeed in business, at times overcoming difficult challenges, while showing a strong commitment to the area and its people.
And Mr Best said this year’s recipient – who sadly passed away last August at the age of 88 – had a long career as a successful businessman, as an encourager of other people to start up in business, and as a pioneer of social enterprise.
The citation read: “Born in Larne in 1926, Tom was an active member of the St John Ambulance during the Second World War and served as a councillor in the 1960s. He was very much involved with Larne Gospel Hall and his life was defined by his strong Christian faith.
“Business interests ranged from pharmaceutical supplies to electrical wholesale, but he came to understand that business could be better, and that it could be used in other ways.
“In 1986, with his wife Margaret, our Lifetime Achievement award recipient converted their home into the nursing home that would become Gillaroo Lodge.
“He was also a founder of LEDCOM and took great pleasure in the benefits that organisation has brought to Larne.
“A supporter of a number charitable and community projects across the province, in the early 1980s he was invited to join the board of the Industrial Therapy Organisation - now renamed Action Mental Health - which pioneered new approaches in the rehabilitation of people suffering from mental health.
“Our recipient was instrumental in expanding the service from a single centre in Downpatrick to a province-wide concern.
“In 1997, he led the development of Northern Ireland’s first social firm - Acceptable Enterprises (Larne) Ltd - which was established to provide support and employment for people with mental health problems, learning disabilities and other disadvantages. Due to our Lifetime Achiever’s commitment, enthusiasm, drive and business skill, AEL is now a resounding success.
“He leaves a legacy of positive influence which will carry on for many generations.”