A well respected civil servant who devoted life to keeping roads safe

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HAROLD James Green was a man who enjoyed driving and made it his business to keep the roads safe so others could do the same.

Harold, who passed away on Thursday at the age of 63, was one of the most influential people in road safety, retiring in 2009 as Chief Road Safety Officer for Northern Ireland.

He was the only child of Sadie and Lance and lived at Ann Street in Lurgan until he was three when the family moved to Waringstown.

Harold remained in the village for the rest of his days, eventually moving into a house beside the family cottage on the Banbridge Road with his wife Nancy and daughter Louise.

The well respected civil servant was a former pupil of Waringstown Primary School and Lurgan Junior High. After leaving school he joined the civil service in the Health and Social Services Department. He moved to the road safety division in 1978.

His wife Nancy said: “Harold was wearing seat belts long before they became law. He was always very safety conscious.

“He was a great lover of the roads and was very keen on motorsport, particularly trial bikes.”

His Waringstown home boasts a number of trophies he won as a young man. As a youth Harold was also a keen cricketer at Waringstown.

Harold was an advanced driver who enjoyed life on the open road. Nancy said his favourite holiday destination was the Highlands of Scotland where he would travel by caravan and enjoy another of his favourite pastimes - fishing.

She said: “He was always in demand through work so he liked to take the caravan up into the Highlands and get away from it all.”

Harry was appointed Roads Safety Officer for the Southern Region when road safety was devolved to a regional level.

The road safety department worked with schools and education boards to include a road safety element in the Northern Ireland Curriculum.

When interviewed by the ‘MAIL’ in 2009 Harold revealed that it was a fatal accident involving one of his friends on the way to the North West 200 that got him involved in road safety.

He said: “It was that incident that prompted my interest and sadly many people get involved in road safety because they have been personally involved in some way with a fatal incident.”

Harold was appointed Senior Road Safety Officer for the north west region before being appointed Chief Road Safety Officer for all of Northern Ireland in 1992, a role from which he retired in 2009.

In the same year he was awarded the MBE for his services to road safety in the New Year’s Honour’s list.

At the time he said: “It was very nice honour to receive, but it is with the hard work and dedication of everyone in the road safety department that deserves the accolade.”

Nancy commented: “Harold was a very modest person. He wouldn’t even tell anyone about it, but I must say he was very proud of it.”

She told how her husband loved the outdoors and was always at home when he was tending to his garden.

Nancy and Harold had been married for 34 years. Their daughter Louise (29) is also an advanced driver and civil servant like her father.

Nancy, a receptionist in Best’s dental practice in Lurgan, thanked everyone for their sympathy cards and support and for those who visited the house and provided the food on the day of the funeral.

His wife said: “Harold was such a big part of ours lives. We’re a very close family and it’s going to be very, very difficult to cope without him.”

Harold’s funeral service took place on Sunday at the Mourneview Assembly followed by interment at Waringstown Parish Churchyard.