Cecil Maxwell: A tribute to a people-person

Cecil Maxwell: A tribute to a people-person

12 July 2017

IN truth I had known Cecil Maxwell almost my entire life.

From those early days on Downpatrick’s Edward Street when I often  went to visit my cousins the Bohills, to my last meeting with him early this spring.

Cecil was always  the same when you met him: the hearty greeting, the enquiries about the family and about others whose friendship we shared in common.

That was Cecil, a people-person from the early days when he honed his craft in the old Post Office system, and later used it well in the chambers of local councils.

He was in every sense of the word, a true ecumenist, always conscious of the needs of others, 

irrespective of their class or creed and aware at all times of the need to help those who needed help the most, should it be in housing or other social spheres.

Away from the council chamber Cecil Maxwell in a more silent manner was often the author of solutions to problems which beset society’s members but which never came to public attention.

Over the years he was the champion of many causes, some great, some small but his untiring energies were always at the beck and call of Downpatrick, which he loved so dearly, and the Downe Hospital in whose interests he fought so gallantly.

Rudyard Kipling summed it up well when he wrote: 

 “One man in a thousand, Solomon says,

Will stick more close than a brother.

And it’s worth while seeking him half your days

If you find him before the other.

“Nine hundred and ninety-nine depend

On what the world sees in you,

But the Thousandth man will stand your friend

With the whole round world agin’ you.”

He could well have been talking about Cecil Maxwell.

• Michael Drake is former journalist with the Down Recorder and Belfast Telegraph.