Northern Ireland news

Tributes to aviation enthusiast Ernie Cromie

The late Ernie Cromie

TRIBUTES have been paid to Ernie Cromie, a key figure in Ireland's aviation history.

Mr Cromie died on Friday, aged 79. He had recently been receiving treatment at Lagan Valley Hospital in Lisburn.

The Ulster Aviation Society, for which Mr Cromie served as chairman for 30 years, paid tribute to him as a “a dear friend, a dedicated historian and an inspiration".

Society chairman Ray Burrows described the deceased as “one of the nicest, most generous-of-spirit men I have had the pleasure of meeting in my life".

"A giant of a man with the most amazing aviation knowledge," he said.

Around 40 aviation enthusiasts gathered to pay tribute to Mr Cromie on Saturday at the UAS's museum at the Maze/Long Kesh site in Lisburn.

The retired civil servant from Hillsborough is largely credited with assembling the 40 aircraft and artifacts on display at the site, as well as securing the former RAF Long Kesh airfield as a venue for the museum.

"Ernie's excellent leadership, hard work and friendly demeanour have been factors known to all UAS members for many years," Mr Burrows said.

A service of thanksgiving for Ernie Cromie will be held on Wednesday July 21 at 1.30 pm at Lisburn Presbyterian Church.

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