Young father-of-five dies suddenly

A YOUNG Portadown father-of-five has died suddenly at his place of employment. Billy Norton (43) is thought to have suffered from an aneurysm, and his body was discovered at his workplace by his worried family when he failed to return home.

He worked for Northern Ireland Water in their partnership with Veolia Water at Seagoe Industrial Estate, and was an inspector with the company for 20-plus years. He was on duty alone when he passed away.

Mr Norton’s home was at Bocombra Hill, Portadown, not far from Festival Road where he was brought up. He is survived by his partner Paula, daughters Kim, Naomi, Ruby and Holly and son Reece. His parents are Billy senior and Arlene, and he is also survived by brothers Jeffrey and Neil.

Billy had the capacity for making friends from an early age, a quality he retained throughout his life, as was reflected by his funeral service at Seagoe Parish Church. The church building was filled to overflowing and many of the mourners had to be accommodated in the neighbouring parish centre.

He was educated at Edenderry Primary School, at Killicomaine Junior High and Portadown College of Further Education, his first job being with Wade Pottery at Watson Street, Potrtadown, for a short time. But, as a free spirit, he didn’t much fancy factory life and joined the Army - with the Royal Irish Rangers. He served for three years, initially in Portsmouth and Dover, before being stationed in Seattle on the west coast of America, and then in Germany.

After he left the Army, he secured his position with the then Water Board, and stayed there for the rest of his life. As well as being recognised as an expert in the field, he was union representative and health and safety officer, showing a caring side which endeared him to his colleagues.

He enjoyed sport, playing rugby in his younger days. But angling was his favoured pursuit, with the Bann being so close to his work as the river flowed through Seagoe. He kept a small motor launch on the Bann to pursue his fishing interests.

With his Army background, he was a member of the Portadown Branch of the British Legion, and as well as throwing himself into the running of the organisation, he played a role in the social and sporting aspects of the branch, playing pool and snooker.

Most of all, though, he loved his family - his partner Paula and children, and remained close to his extended family, his parents and his siblings. They are devastated by his sudden and unexpected passing as there was no indication that he was unwell.

His joy of life and the fact that he made so many friends was reflected by his funeral, and the family wish to place on record their appreciation to the Rector of Seagoe, Canon Terence Cadden, for his pastoral care and for his comforting address at the funeral service.

Funeral arrangement were in the hands of George McNabb and Company, and burial was at Kernan Cemetery. A Legion Piper sounded the lament and poppies were cast upon the coffin.