Honesty and integrity were MLA’s hallmarks

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st October 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.'George Savage the former Upper Bann MLA who has passed away.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st October 2014 - Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.'George Savage the former Upper Bann MLA who has passed away.
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Described as a man whose life was one of service, local politics lost one of its true gentlemen last week.

George was born in Lurgan on November 28, 1941 to parents George and Jean Savage.

He was the eldest of six children, his siblings being William, Jimmy, Irene, Desmond, Noel (deceased).

He grew up in Donaghcloney and attended Lisnasure School. Upon finishing his education he went straight to work on the family farm.

In the early 1960s he met Joy Andrews and after some courting they married in 1964. Their eldest son, George, was born in 1966, followed by Nigel some thirteen months later, and Kyle in 1970.

George Savage’s life was one of service – to his family, his community, to his Party, to his country. In 1971 he joined the UDR, serving out of Banbridge with many sleepless nights spent on the front line protecting the community.

As the most violent decade of Northern Ireland’s troubled history was coming to an end, George decided to pursue a new avenue that would define the next 35 years of his life: elected politics.

In 1981 he was elected to Craigavon Borough Council, serving as Mayor from 1985 to 1987, and again in 2005.

George was a solid Ulsterman. He loved his country and was fiercely proud of its history and its culture. He was a long-standing member of Clogher LOL 529, the Royal Black Preceptory No. 139, along with the Masonic and the Royal British Legion, to name but a few.

He was also involved in the Donaghcloney Housing Association and chaired the Board of Governors of Donaghcloney PS. He loved football, and was a director of Glenavon for over 10 years. He was also involved in the Mid Ulster Youth Football Association.

George worshipped in Donaghcloney Methodist Church where his funeral service was held on Friday.

Reverend Tom Deacon told mourners: “At Stormont George was known for his gentle, gracious, easy-going manner. You always knew where you stood with him – honesty and integrity were hallmarks of his public life.”

Rev Tom Deacon commented: “George always said that he never needed an office. His office was his farmyard. Anyone who needed his help just called by his farmyard and received help, whoever they were. He never took notes. He had a fantastic memory for people’s names and the issues that they needed to have resolved.

“Farming was always a great passion of George’s. He loved the rural life. He would have been up at the break of dawn to work on the farm. He often had a day’s work done before heading down the road to Stormont.”