John Thompson Memorial – Belfast Telegraph
Library a tribute to yachting lawyer
By Claire McNeilly (Belfast Telegraph)
Wednesday, 9 July 2008
A leading Northern Ireland barrister who was killed in a freak sailing accident has been commemorated by the establishment of a new law facility.
John Thompson QC died last December, seven days after after an accident in a yacht, Avocet, in the Caribbean.
The north Down barrister was taking part in the Atlantic Rally Crossing when a large wave hit the vessel and he fell and hit his head.
Last week, members of the legal profession gathered for the unveiling of a new library and conference room dedicated to Mr Thompson.
The library, part of Stewart’s Solicitors new premises at Donegall Quay, Belfast, was officially opened by Mr Thompson’s widow, Tina.
Charles Stewart, senior partner at Stewarts, said it was important to preserve his colleague’s memory.
“John’s untimely death has touched all of us within the legal community and we believe this to be a fitting tribute to a man we held in very high esteem,” he said.
“He was extremely committed to the legal profession and we feel that it is important to preserve his memory in a way that is resourceful and educational.”
“John was such a lively, cheerful character and his tragic death came as a huge shock to those of us who knew him. While he remains in all our thoughts, we hope that this dedication will in some way contribute to maintaining his memory long into the future.”
Mr Thompson’s widow Tina said she was delighted that her husband’s memory was being honoured in this way and presented his extensive collection of legal books to the library.
Members of the legal profession and the judiciary gathered, included the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, and Donald Eakin, President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, Mr Justice Girvan and Judge Tom Burgess, Recorder of Belfast.
After the accident on December 7, Mr Thompson was taken to hospital in Barbados, where he was joined by his family, but he never regained consciousness.
His wife and children Charlotte, Rachel, Vicki and Daniel were at his bedside when he passed away.
The family has set up a charity to facilitate organ donations in the West Indies as a memorial to Mr Thompson. He carried a donor card, but because there are no facilities in the West Indies, his wish to donate his organs wasn not fulfiled.
The family is creating a specialist transplant team to cover the West Indies and donations can be made by cheque to the JD Thompson Donation Account, Stewart’s Solicitors, 3 Regent Street, Newtownards BT23 4AB.
9th July 2008