Tributes paid to local Rotarian

Tributes have been paid to former Cookstown businessman and prominent Rotarian Alastair Laird who died last Thursday in Antrim Hospital.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 6:52 am

A private cremation service took place at Roselawn Crematorium on Tuesday and this will be followed by a service of thanksgiving in the summer.

Mr Laird, from Killycurragh Road, Cookstown, is predeceased by his wife Carol who passed away in May 2017 and was well known for her charity work in the district.

He is survived by his son, the novelist and poet Nick Laird, who is married to English novelist Zadie Smith, and daughter Emma and grandchildren.

Cookstown Rotary Club said in an online tribute that it would miss Mr Laird’s enthusiasm.

They said: “Alastair joined Rotary in 1984 and became President of Cookstown Rotary Club in 1989/90.

“Ten years later he became District Governor (DG) of Rotary in Ireland. During his time as DG he visited all 77 of Ireland’s Rotary Clubs developing deep and long lasting friendships with people across the island.

“He represented Ireland at the Rotary International Conference in Singapore in 1999 where he developed life-long friendships with Rotarians across the globe.

“As a senior Rotarian he held several roles in Rotary at District level. He chaired the District Foundation (Rotary’s charity) Committee and was the District Extension Officer. As part of the latter he helped found the Rotary Club of Lagan Valley.”

They said he had a major role in Rotary Polio, Hope and Homes for Children, and Mercy Ships projects raising hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“Outside of Rotary he worked tirelessly in the community supporting local community projects including The Hub and The Mid Ulster Stroke Support Group,” they added.