Mr Hugh Begg, following a short illness and just short of his 80th birthday, Hughie, as he was affectionately known to many of the Lords people and His servants throughout the UK and beyond, was called home on 24th January. As a child, due to an unfortunate accident, Hughie sustained head injuries, the effect of which remained with him for the rest of his days. Nevertheless, early in life he trusted the Lord and later was baptised and received into assembly fellowship at Elim Hall, Kilmarnock, where he faithfully continued for well over 40 years, seldom missing a meeting. His faith was simple, but steadfast. At the weekly prayer meetings he regularly prayed for the assembly and his friends, and especially for many of the Lords servants with whom he kept in touch by phone. The esteem in which he was held was evident at his funeral service - even with only a handful of surviving relatives Elim Hall was, nevertheless, packed with those who gathered to pay their respects. He was loved by all and is greatly missed.
Miss Margaret E Bingham MBE, aged 76, in hospital. She was saved very early in life and was soon baptised and in Ballykeel assembly. She read and studied her Bible and developed in spiritual matters, becoming a mature devoted believer. She was an asset to the assembly in every way: a wise, consistent, faithful sister who was loved in the assembly and highly respected locally. She worked for the Ministry of Agriculture and for excellent work was awarded an MBE. Margarets devotion and care for her widowed mother was very marked. Her very large funeral was from the Gospel Hall. Dr Allen took charge with J G Hutchinson and J Rogers giving messages of comfort and gospel. Prayer valued for the family circle and the assembly.
Mrs Elizabeth Black, was called home on 28th April. Mrs Black, along with her husband, came to Central Gospel Hall after the closure of the Vaults Lane Mission Hall in Kilwinning. They were received into fellowship on 2nd July, 2000. The last two years of Mrs Blacks life were spent in bed. She was lovingly cared for by her husband to whom she had been married for 70 years. She is survived by her husband Willie, their son Billie, his wife Jane and their family.
Mr Eric McGrath, South Africa, called home suddenly on 9th November following a short illness. He was saved as a young man of 19 during gospel meetings conducted by Mr Harold Spurgeon Paisley in Belfast in 1960. Following this he was baptised and received into fellowship in the assembly at Ebenezer Gospel Hall, Belfast before moving to South Africa in 1968. He then spent 5 years labouring in the Cape Town area during which time he used his skills as a draughtsman to build and extend a number of Gospel Halls across South Africa. In 1971 he left secular employment and committed himself to full time service in the Lords work. He moved to Port Elizabeth in 1973 and was in fellowship in the Gelvandale assembly until his home call. Although his main sphere of service was amongst the assemblies in the Eastern Cape, he travelled widely throughout Southern Africa and the fruit of his labour is evident in many places today. The very large funeral service was indicative of the high esteem in which he was held, with many travelling long distances to attend. It was conducted by D McKillen, with various brethren from Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Belfast sharing in tribute, prayer and appreciation. R Brown spoke at the graveside, before our brothers mortal remains were laid to rest in the land where he laboured for 42 years. Prayer is requested for the small family and the wide circle of friends in Africa, Northern Ireland and elsewhere.
Miss Louise McNeill, aged 27, was called home suddenly on 13th May. Louise was saved as a girl of 16 while attending gospel meetings in Coleraine. Shortly afterwards she was baptized and received into fellowship in the assembly at Buckna, County Antrim. On completing her university degree in Coleraine she moved to England to complete her training as an optometrist. While in England Louise was in happy fellowship in the assembly at Winshill, Burton upon Trent, in Staffordshire. The believers in the Winshill assembly showed her much kindness and she in turn was very dear to them. After two years Louise returned to Northern Ireland and remained in fellowship in the Buckna assembly until her homecall. Louise was a young woman whose life displayed the beauty of Christian womanhood and she was loved by all who knew her. The shortness of her life and the suddenness of her death have been a loud voice to many people, both saved and unsaved. A very large company attended the funeral services at the family home and the graveside where the gospel was preached by brethren John Rogers and Wesley Martin with others assisting in prayer and tribute. Prayer is requested for her parents Robert and Hazel and her sister, Lynda.
Mr Adam Poots, aged 83, went to be with the Lord on 6th April after a long illness patiently borne. He was saved on 28th March, 1946, when Mr Wallace and Mr Beattie were having gospel meetings in Dromore Gospel Hall, Co. Down. He was from the Mullafernaghan area, and after being baptised was received into the assembly there. For the last 56 years, with his wife Rita, he has been in the assembly at Growell. He was faithful and interested in all the activities of the assembly, even when numbers were small. He had a great love for the truth of the Lords coming for which he looked. The very large funeral was a tribute to him. R Pickering spoke in the hall and at the grave. Also sharing were S Whitten, J Booth, B Tinsley, and J Hughes.
Mrs Mary Smith (née McIntosh), was called home to be with her Lord on 21st May, aged 81 years. Our sister was saved at the age of eleven and was baptised and received into fellowship in Hebron Hall, Larkhall when she was 15. She married Jim Smith in 1955 and they set up their home in Airdrie and were in fellowship in Coatdyke assembly. They moved home to Overtown in 1990 and came into happy fellowship in the Overtown assembly where she remained until her home call. During her last year she was very ill and was hospitalised on a number of occasions. She was faithful, and was present at times to remember her Lord when she was really too ill to be out. She loved the Lord and the Lords House. Our sister will be missed. Prayer would be valued for her husband at this time.
Miss Viola Spence, aged 75, on 21st April. She was saved in 1958 when Messrs Campbell and Paisley were conducting meetings in Ballymagarrick, and has been in the assembly ever since. She was a quiet, consistent lady showing an interest in the things of God, and telling others of her Saviour. Despite much suffering she had a sense of tranquility and joy which others noticed and enquired of her why she had such peace. Her funeral from the Gospel Hall was conducted by J Rogers and J G Hutchinson, with Samuel and Sydney sharing in hymns and prayer.
Mrs Charlotte (Lottie) Thompson, aged 84, on 22nd April, very suddenly. She was saved when she was 12 years old, and grew up to be a lady of devotion and dignity. Her husband was a valued overseer, and she loyally supported him in his many efforts in the gospel. She was respected and loved in the assembly at Carryduff and will be greatly missed. Her funeral was from the Gospel Hall, one of the largest seen there for many years. Mr J Scott conducted the service, a nephew paid a tribute, J G Hutchinson gave a message of appreciation, comfort and gospel, and Uel Crothers and R Pickering shared in prayer.
Mrs Nancy Young, was called home on 7th May. Nancy was born and brought up in Hurlford. She was saved in early life and was in assembly fellowship there. In March, 1950 she married Tom, and they continued in fellowship in Hurlford assembly until it closed. They were then in Elim Hall, Kilmarnock. Nancy and Tom came to Irvine in March, 1971 and into fellowship at Central Gospel Hall. Nancy was widowed in 1996. After some time of indifferent health, Nancy was taken into Abbeyfield Care Home from where she was called home.