A former businessman who died after a car accident has been described as “a humble and self-effacing Christian gentleman” who was honoured by the Queen for services to Methodism.
David Hull, 89, from Portadown, died following a collision on the Drumcor Road in Clabby, Co Fermanagh, on Sunday shortly before 7.15pm. Police said he was taken to hospital for treatment and died the following day.
It is understood he was discharged with no significant injuries and it has not yet been determined whether the crash was linked to his death; he also had pre-existing health issues. A post mortem has been carried out.
He and his wife Ethel started and run a chain of Christian bookshops for many years and he served as a lay preacher in the Portadown and other Methodist circuits.
Mr Hull also served the Methodist Home Mission for 13 years during the 1950s and 1960s, distributing Christian literature and touring all over Ireland, mainly on a motorcycle.
As well as his wife, he is survived by sons Jonathan and Stephen, daughters-in-law Suzanne and Anna, and grandchildren Amy, Christopher, Laura, Jacob and Ella.
Rev Aian Ferguson of Edenderry Methodist Church in Portadown paid a warm tribute to Mr Hull’s character.
“David was simply a humble, self-effacing Christian gentleman and a great family man,” he said.
“He loved history and gardening, growing his own vegetables and many other flowers and plants. He was also a lay preacher for many years and was a very faithful member of the church.”
The clergyman noted that Mr Hull and his wife had opened and run Christian bookshops in Kilkeel, Rathfriland, Portadown and Banbridge.
The couple had travelled to Fermanagh on Sunday to visit relatives and while there attended a special annual church service on the theme of friendship at Clabby Church of Ireland.
Fermanagh independent councillor Raymond Farrell met them for the first time after the service.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” he said. “This was the first time I had met them. David was just a lovely man and I was really impressed at just how devoted they were to each other; Mrs Hull was so attentive to him in bringing him his food and tea.”
He added: “I trust that people will rally around and help the family at this time.”
In 2008 Mr Hull’s many years of service to the Methodist Church in Ireland where recognised when the Queen presented him with Maundy Money during her visit to Armagh.
Accompanied by Mrs Hull, he received the famous red and white purses, with one containing a specially minted five pense coin and a 50p piece, and the other 82p in the Royal Maundy money; the significance of the number 82 was the Queen’s age in 2008.
The Queen made the presentation, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh.
Speaking afterwards Mr Hull described the Maundy experience “as wonderful and totally unexpected”.
His funeral service will take place on Thursday at 2pm at Edenderry Methodist Church, Portadown.