Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Dr William (Bill) Laird, 1941

Published by Ballymena Times

The Ballymena borough and wider North Antrim community has been saddened by the recent death of Dr William (Bill) Laird, FRCOG.

Dr Laird passed away at his Ballykennedy Road home, Gracehill, on February 24. He was 92.

Renowned throughout the province and beyond in the field of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, he was amongst the first generation of consultant gynaecologists in Northern Ireland and during his long and distinguished career, he delivered some 12,000 babies.

Having served in the RAF during World War II, he retrained for the soon to be National Health Service and the Ulster Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society, founded in 1952, was largely his brainchild.

For many years, Dr Laird had limited support as consultant gynaecologist in the whole of east Antrim.  It was, however, a status quo he successfully fought to change and he was also at the very heart of the struggle to expand the maternity ward at Ballymena’s Waveney Hospital.

In his eulogy at Dr Laird’s funeral service at St Colmanell’s Church of Ireland, Ahoghill, last Monday, Rector, Rev Mark Loney, told the large congregation: “Even with the high regard amassed across the borough, Bill was not one to intentionally parade his eminent career in Gynaecology and obstetrics. He did not like a big fuss, especially over himself.

“We gather in this church to mourn and to give thanks. It is a fitting place to do so, for it was a place that was very dear to Bill’s heart. His faithful devotion and sheer determination against failing health to remain regular in his pew for worship Sunday by Sunday would have put the youngest and the fittest in our parish to shame.

“Bill loved this place and in his time tendered monumental service to this parish as both a member of vestry and a wise and gracious gentleman”.

The son of a tea merchant, Dr Laird was a man of “gentleness and humility, warmth and dignity” who had a great sense and love of family, said Rev Loney.

“In his whole career he never lost that sense of wonder and awe of new life,” he told the congregation.

"Bill’s strength as a person was expressed best through the remarkable quality of his dealings with people - his ability to make all human encounters, however fleeting, feel both special and personal, to the point that people remembered him and still do, indeed always will, with great fondness and the highest respect”.

Rev Loney paid fitting tribute, on behalf of the Laird family, to the carers - Josephine, June, Jemma, Mandy, Nichola, Winifred, Barbara and Helena, and the nurses, hospital staff and social services, who “made Bill’s life so comfortable and without whom his desire to remain safely at home until his end would have been nigh impossible”.

Dr. Laird was interred at the churchyard of St Colmanell’s on February 28 following his funeral service in the adjoining Parish Church.  Husband of the late Vera, he is survived by his children, Shirley, Jeannie and Steve, grandchildren Chris, Joe, Nick, Rebecca, Hannah and Daniel, and wider family circle.



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