Warm tributes have been paid to a Larne man who played an instrumental role in the establishment of social enterprise company LEDCOM.
Des Nixon, who passed away recently at the age of 71, was one of the founding directors of the firm in 1985 and served as the first chairman during its critical early years.
Mr Nixon was born on June 24, 1944, and grew up in Bay Park area of Larne.
From the age of eight, he showed the beginnings of a life-long passion for the sea and for sailing.
A former pupil of Larne Grammar School, Mr Nixon left the school in 1964 to join the Bank of Ireland. He went on to manage the branch in Larne , where he remained until his retirement in 1995, aged just 51.
On April 3, 1969 he married Norma, who was training for a career in teaching at Stranmillis College. They went on to have four children, James, Judy, Gavin and Ciara.
From his early years as Larne branch manager, Mr Nixon had been an enthusiastic supporter for the development of a social enterprise park in the town.
Ken Nelson, chief executive of LEDCOM and current chairman, Henry Fletcher said: “Des made a major contribution to the establishment and success of LEDCOM and helped turned the original vision into reality.
“His friendship, skills, knowledge and insights will be deeply missed by everyone at LEDCOM.
“The effectiveness of Des’ role as a director and first chairman is partly evidenced by the fact that LEDCOM is about to celebrate its 31st anniversary.”
Mr Nixon’s passion to see Larne flourish as a community on the strength of its own skills also led him to seek election to Larne Borough Council, which saw him top the poll in his own electoral area.
Although Des’ weekday energies were devoted to banking and community development, his greatest passion remained sailing. It was a passion he was determined to share with his whole family.
However for Mr Nixon, storm clouds would gather on his horizon. In 2013 he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma.
Mr Nixon died peacefully at Antrim Area Hospital on April 19 with his closest family by his side. He was laid to rest in Larne Cemetery on April 22.