The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, has expressed his condolences following the death of Wrightbus founder, Sir William Wright.
The Mayor said:
“I was extremely saddened to hear of the death of Sir William and my thoughts are with his family and friends.
“Sir William was an inspirational engineering pioneer. Since its foundation by William and his father, Robert, in a tin shed in 1946, his business grew to be a global leader in its sector and has provided employment for thousands of people, particularly in the local and surrounding area.
“Sir William’s vision, innovation and entrepreneurship was exceptional and he placed Ballymena, indeed Northern Ireland, on the map for manufacturing excellence. He was a trailblazing leader of industry and commerce.”
Council bestowed the Freedom of the Borough on Sir William in 2019 in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to global business and the local economy.
Sir William Wright was awarded an OBE for services to the bus industry and the community in 2001. In 2011 he was awarded a CBE for his services to the bus industry.
He was further honoured in May 2018 when he was made a Knight Bachelor of the British Empire for services to both the bus industry and the UK economy.
Alongside his ever-growing bus business, Sir William served on Ballymena Borough Council from 1981 to 1985 and again from 1993 to 2005.
The Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Beth Adger MBE, also paid tribute to Sir William.
The Deputy Mayor said:
“Sir William’s impact on Ballymena is immeasurable. He was a true entrepreneurial genius who took a wee company founded in a tin shed in 1946 to be one of the most innovative and respected bus manufacturers in the world.
“There aren’t many people in our town who haven’t either worked or had a family member employed by Wrightbus down through the years.
“And despite his success, Sir William never forgot his roots and was a proud Ballymena man throughout his life.
“His loss will be immense but his legacy will live on for many, many years. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time.”