Community mourns passing of ‘character’ Willie Lyons

THERE has been sadness right across Fermanagh this week at news of the sudden death of Fivemiletown man William Lyons, who was much loved across the county.
Known as Willie to those who knew him, Mr Lyons passed away on Saturday and was laid to rest following a Service of Thanksgiving at St John’s Parish Church in Fivemiletown yesterday (Tuesday).
Tributes have been pouring in for the popular and highly active 73-year-old, whose sharp sense of humour and friendly nature made an impression with all those who met him.
Having worked across Fermanagh over the years, Mr Lyons was best known for his involvement with the Murley Silver Band, where he was president, and the Lakeland Cycle Club.
Local Cllr Victor Warrington said “everybody knew Willie.”
“Willie was an absolute character. He had a real devilish sense of humour,” said Cllr Warrington, who reflected fondly on Mr Lyons’ cheeky smirk.
Noting he himself had first met Mr Lyons’ while working at Wilson’s in Enniskillen many years ago, one of the local stores Mr Lyons had supplied curtains to, Cllr Warrington said the Fivemiletown man was a familiar face across Fermanagh. He also noted how dedicated he had always been to his beloved silver band.
“There is always somebody in all organisations and things like that who keep the whole thing together and going, and Willie was one of those people,” he said.
On Monday, a spokesman for Murley Silver Band said words could not express their shock and sadness at the loss of Mr Lyons, who played the cornet with the band for well over half a century.
“Willie was one of the faces of Murley having played in the band for over 60 years,” said the spokesman.
“He was always smiling, had such wit and was always ready to make others laugh whilst also caring immensely about the band, its history and its future.
“Willie was a bandsman through and through where his attention to detail and organisation kept the rest of us in order, which wasn’t always an easy thing to do.
“Willie and Geraldine were the ultimate husband and wife team, always together and full of fun at all band events.
“One of life’s gentlemen, Willie will be greatly missed by everyone at the band and all who knew him.”
The band expressed its deepest condolences with Geraldine and all the Lyons family.
The Lakeland Cycle Club said it too had been left reeling by news of Mr Lyons’ death.
Current and past members of the club formed a guard of honour for their fellow cyclist as Mr Lyons was laid to rest in Fivemiletown yesterday, while the club also cancelled all its events for the week as a mark of respect.
A spokesman for the club said it had been with “great shock and sadness” they had learned of the death of their good friend, and expressed condolences to the Lyons family.
“Our club events will never be the same again as Willie brought laughter and smiles to all who attended from far and wide and always made visitors welcome with his great humour,” said the spokesman.
Mr Lyons is survived by his wife Geraldine, children Stephen (Erin) and Jacqueline (Adrian), grandchildren Wayne, Kaitlin, Leah and William, and siblings Norman, Robert, Olive, and Alan.

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