He gave so much of himself to improving life in Douglas: Tributes paid to Billy Coleman 

He gave so much of himself to improving life in Douglas: Tributes paid to Billy Coleman 

Billy Coleman, at County Hall when the Douglas Community Association got the ‘Pride of Place” award from Cllr Derry Canty back in 2016.

BILLY COLEMAN, Chairman of Douglas Community Association (DCA) passed away on Friday, April 3.

We wish to offer our respect and condolence to his bereaved family, his wife, Antoinette and his eight children, John, Maureen, Grace, Claire, Barry, Orla, Thomas and David, his adored 15 grandchildren, his sister Jenny, brothers Tommy and Sean. He was predeceased by his sisters Ina and Maureen and brothers Francis and Fannin.

He will also be sadly missed by his sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, partners, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, and all his friends in The Douglas Community Association (DCA) and Kinsale Golf Club.

A larger than life, enthusiastic character, Billy was the Chairperson of DCA, involved in the association with this community project over forty years and had been chairman for many years.

He was a builder by trade and was a practical man, with a great intellect, and a wonderful ability in his interaction with people.

The original community building was up and running in 1986, built by Billy’s building company. This facility was key in providing the Douglas area with a community pre-school, an outstanding achievement at the time. The provision of the then new Meals-on-Wheels kitchen allowed for this service, which commenced in 1980, to flourish and is a huge success to this date.

Nearly 30 years on, he and the committee could see the need for expanding the community centre to update the Meals-on-Wheels service which had been operating in a small kitchen since 1986, a new office/reception for the public to engage, a meeting room, toilet facilities, and a big space upstairs that would be used by lots of groups, youth and others and he set his mind on doing that around 2008. Most of those facilities are now in place, except for the upstairs area which needs more funding to be completed.

One of his favourite projects at DCA was the Douglas Tidy Towns Group, of which he was a founder member. They met in the Community Park every Saturday morning, and ever ‘hands-on’, Billy looked forward to the Saturday morning clean-up around the area.

Last year was their best year ever, getting over the 300 marks in the National TT competition, and he was delighted.

Among many achievements, Billy was very proud of Douglas Community Assoc. winning IPB Pride of Place for “Regions with 5,000 plus people” in 2016 and being presented with a beautiful trophy and a cash prize in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.

Cork County Council had selected the association to represent Cork in the Douglas area and subsequently honoured all the participating groups with a reception in Vertigo, Cork County Hall.

The “Pride of Place” award was a testament to Billy’s mission in life which was essentially to ‘make our community a better place’ and he did this through fostering and collaborating with those subgroups of DCA such as Meals-on-Wheels, Tidy Towns, Pre-School & Toddler Group and Events in the Park Committee but with neighbouring community groups, Douglas Seniors Group-Young at Heart, Lions Club, ICA and Douglas and St Fin Barre’s Scouts.

Always in good humour, Billy was available and willing to talk to people in the community, to discuss their ideas and to help out when he could. At every monthly meeting, he publicised that if anyone had an issue of a community nature, if they needed help, they could document it and it would be discussed at the meeting.

People confided in Billy, and he would always do what he could.

Our new extension, funded by SECAD, Dept of Health, the National Lotto, Cork County and City Councils, HSE Community South, local fund-raising activities and events and generous contributions from the local community, was a huge success story for the area and not alone Billy, but his Co-Directors, Nuala Keating, Bill Perrott and former Director Sheila Fitzgerald with the committee at DCA helping out along the way.

Billy’s family members were always willing to help him out too, especially on days when there were big events in the park run by the Events Group of volunteers. His wife, Antoinette, was always in tune with Billy’s dreams for the community and gave him her full backing. They were a very solid, loving pair.

Billy will never be forgotten for his service to the people of Douglas and we, at DCA, will miss him but will continue to keep his work going.

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