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Paul Burns (1953-2014)

Wednesday 3rd December 2014 at 2pm 0 Comments

Former Director of Corporate Services, Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has learnt with great sadness of the death of a dear friend and colleague, Paul Burns, who died on Monday night, aged 61, after a long illness.

Paul was born on 26th May 1953, raised in west Belfast and educated at St. Malachy’s College between 1964-1971. Spurning his boyhood ambition to join the priesthood, he chose instead to study at Queen’s University, where he gained a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Psychology and Social Studies in 1974. He became a full member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in 1994, and achieved a diploma in Irish Language from the University of Ulster in 2002.

From 1998 to 2002 Paul worked as a member of the senior management team at Sx3, the business services subsidiary of Viridian Group plc, where he was responsible for the Training Solutions business. After a short spell as a private consultant for a range of public sector bodies, he joined the Arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2003 as Resources Manager.  He was appointed Director of Corporate Services in September 2004 and, between 2004 and his retirement in 2009 on the grounds of ill health, was responsible for human resources and financial management.

In addition to his commitment to the Arts Council, Paul was a board member of the Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland from 1997-2002 and voluntary treasurer of a local branch of the HomeStart UK charity.

He married Kate in 1978 and they set up home together in south Belfast, raising a family of three, Paul, Stephanie and Nicola. He continued to indulge two of his big passions, photography and motorbikes and, in 2008, he joined 100 Irish bikers on the ‘Shamrock Run’, a 3,500 mile charity ride through the south western states of the USA. Shortly after returning home from this trip, he developed symptoms which led to a diagnosis of terminal cancer.

Paul Burns was a popular and respected colleague who carried about himself an easy air of gentle humour and humanity. He was passionate about the arts, regularly attending events and freely volunteering of his time to support organisations such as the Open House Festival. He is greatly missed by his many friends at the Arts Council. Our thoughts are with his family.

A Celebration Service for the life of Paul will be held at All Souls Church, Elmwood Avenue, Belfast on Friday 5th December at 2.30pm. House private. Family flowers only. Donations in lieu of flowers to Friends of the Cancer Centre, c/o. Healy Brothers Funeral Directors, 56 Andersonstown Road, Belfast BT11 9AN. Tel: 028 9030 9333.

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