Northern Ireland news

Drumcree priest and 'unsung hero' Fr Michael Bingham' to be laid to rest today

Fr Michael Bingham was based in Drumcree for over 20 years 

A CO Armagh priest hailed as an “unsung hero” for his decades of community work will be laid to rest today.

Fr Michael Bingham SJ, who was based in Drumcree Parish for more than two decades, died in Craigavon Hospital on Wednesday.

Requiem Mass will be celebrated in the Church of St John The Baptist, Drumcree, at 3pm today, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

Drumcree Community Centre will also be open between 10am and 1pm today for anyone wishing to pay their respects.

Fr Bingham, who was originally from Liverpool in England, worked in Portadown for two decades.

Fr Damian Howard, Provincial Superior of the British Jesuits, said he was saddened by Fr Bingham’s death.

"Over two decades working for reconciliation in Portadown, Northern Ireland and a lifetime dedicated to justice and human dignity,” he said.

"Truly an unsung hero. May he rest in peace."

St John the Baptist College in Portadown said Fr Bingham was “a compassionate, caring and very charitable man in attitudes and deeds”.

“A great friend and role model to the local community and parish,” a spokesman said.

SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly said Fr Bingham was known for being a “calming voice” whenever community tensions rose.

“He also worked hard to foster good cross-community relations and he himself enjoyed a strong relationship with the other church denominations in the area,” she said.

“He was widely recognised for his work with the Drumcree Community Trust, where he served for over 20 years, including as chairperson, where he worked to make a real difference to the lives of ordinary people in this area.

“Fr Bingham was also known for his work at Maghaberry Prison. He has made a huge contribution to this area over the past few decades and leaves behind a lasting legacy."

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