Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



Lisburn businessman Harold Patterson awarded an MBE
in New Year's honours list

Harold Patterson MBE Harold Patterson MBE pictured with his supportive wife Meta.

Harold Patterson MBE

Harold Patterson MBE pictured with his supportive wife Meta.

Lisburn businessman Harold Patterson has been named in the New Year's honours list. He has been awarded an MBE for services to young people and to the community in Lisburn. Harold Patterson's services to young people and to the community are evident in: 60 years of service to Youth, 54 years of services to the Church, over 57 years of services to Business and last but by no means least - his archive cine-film contribution to the History of Lisburn.

Services to YOUTH
Harold Patterson's services to YOUTH, commenced about 60 years ago when as a Christian in his early teens he became a Sunday School Teacher and was involved with 'Youth for Christ'.

Harold and Meta Patterson were married in Dublin in a Quakers Meeting House in 1957 and moved to 'Argyll House' on the Limehill Road, outside Lisburn. They wanted to get to know other Christians, so they held 'squash' evenings in their home once a month on a Saturday evening. They invited anybody and everybody, and with up to sixty young people attending, it really was a 'SQUASH'. The fellowship was great and different speakers came and gave very interesting talks.

In July 1966, a summer camp was organised in Donegal for most of a week, assisted by leaders from the Saturday night 'squash,' this was the first of 33 years of camps. There were about sixty young people at the first camp, the girls slept in the Manse house and the boys slept in the cow byre. They all ate in a large marquee and Michael Perrott was the guest speaker. The aim of the camp was to challenge young people about their Christian faith and encourage a new commitment to Jesus Christ.

The Y club operated from a former Y.W.C.A. hostel called Pim House, at 3 Wallace Avenue, in Lisburn. The building, which was nearly 120 years old, acted as a home for young women over the decades. The Y.W.C.A. hostel, which housed up to 15 girls at one time, was founded in memory of Miss Anna Pim, a Quaker lady who devoted her life to helping others. Despite the success of the hostel, the demand began to wane in the early 1970's and it slowly became used more for elderly people, than its original purpose. The Y.W.C.A. decided to close the Hostel.

Meta Patterson was a committee member of the Hostel, so with the help of Harold Patterson and Michael Perrott (then Y.M.C.A. secretary, Belfast) a new committee was formed, and the Y club was born. Almost '15,000 was spent renovating the inside of the building, walls taken down etc. and in October 1976 the Y Club was opened. The American Lunar 15 astronaut, Col. Al Worden, officially opened the club on 6th April 1977.

The Inter Church youth camps were the highlight of the year for many young people. Annual Easter camps held in Ballycastle Primary School were packed out with 120 young people attending. The one-week summer camps were held in different schools in Scotland. Special guest speakers were very important and were chosen to communicate with the young campers and many lives were changed.

After the campers returned home many of them took part in the Sunday evening service at Railway Street Presbyterian Church and gave interesting humorous reports. The service was always well attended by both the congregation and the campers.

A Sunday Night Youth Fellowship (S.N.Y.F) which was held in Railway Street Church's Minor Hall, ran for 20 successful years, from 1976 to 1996. Led by leaders from the Y Club, the hall was packed to capacity each week. With a varied programme, which included lively music, singing, drama and Bible teaching, it was an extremely popular venue for the young people. On many evenings the members visited Harold and Meta Patterson's home at Limehill Road, for tea, coffee, Bible study, praise and prayer.

For a full history of the Y Club, go to: ../church-news-2004-05/y-club.htm

Services to the CHURCH
Harold Patterson has contributed over 55 years of exemplary service to the CHURCH. Both Harold and his wife Meta are regular attenders at Railway Street Presbyterian Church. Harold was ordained as an Elder on 25th May 1950 and his long service was recognised a few years ago at a function attended by the minister and Office Bearers of Railway Street. Over the years, the Kirk Session and Church Committee have benefited greatly from the great wealth of knowledge he contributes at monthly meetings. For many years, he served as Convenor of the Property Committee. About 25 years ago he introduced the tape ministry providing audio recordings of the Church services to those who are unable to attend Church.

Services to BUSINESS
Harold Patterson has contributed over 57 years of service to BUSINESS in Lisburn. After leaving Wallace High School, he started working in his father's shop which was founded in 1926. Harold was 19 years old when his father died in 1949, leaving himself and his younger brother Hubert to run the family business.

The Smyth Patterson Department Store in Market Square, Lisburn, has made a tremendous contribution to town-centre shopping. It is a superb shop, selling everything from a screw nail to the finest piece of home furnishing.

Services to HISTORY
Harold Patterson has made an everlasting service to the HISTORY of Lisburn. As a 23 year-old camera club enthusiast, together with other club members, he took cine-films of Lisburn in 1953 that now features in two historic films produced by the BBC and shown several times on BBC television. One of the films, entitled 'Our Town' even shows the congregation of Railway Street Church after a morning service in 1953.

The second film, entitled 'A Royal Occasion' shows the Queen's visit to Lisburn in 1953, shortly after her Coronation. Harold had to obtain special permission from the Police to make this film. For years to come, the films will provide irreplaceable history of life in Lisburn in the early 1950's.

Harold Patterson took cine-films at each Inter Church camp from 1966 to 1984, which have been transferred to a 1'-hour video giving a clear understanding of their enormous popularity. The video, narrated by Harold and Meta's son Trevor, shows camp venues that include Donegal, Scotland, Ballycastle and Kilkeel. For many years to come, the video film will provide evidence of the many hundreds of young people who enjoyed great fun and Christian fellowship during many years of inter church youth camps hosted by Harold and Meta Patterson.

Services to the COMMUNITY
Harold Patterson's services to the COMMUNITY have undoubtedly brought a distinction and quality of life not only to Lisburn but now, even further afield. Many past members of the Y Club are now married with children, and some are living overseas. As parents and leaders in various Church organisations, they are now passing on their solid Christian foundation gained at the Y Club, to their children and to the next generation of young people in the whole community of the City of Lisburn and beyond.

His services to the community are further evident in his involvement with the blind. Thirty years ago, Harold and Meta were instrumental in forming the TORCH Fellowship Group for the blind, which meets monthly.

Last but by no means least Harold Patterson has served the community of Lisburn in the honourable position of Justice of the Peace for over 30 years.

Harold and Meta Patterson, who now live in Lisburn city centre, have three grown up children and four grandchildren.

Many congratulations to Harold Patterson in receiving such a well deserved award.