The Honorary Officers, Members and fellow Trustees of the Donaghadee Sailing Club
are saddened by the news of the passing away of the Club’s Senior Trustee, Mr Bill Oliver,
and wish to tender their deepest sympathy to the immediate and wider family.
Steven Dickson Commodore
Bill Oliver – a loss to us all
Bill Oliver passed away last Friday 27 th February 2023 aged 88
I would be surprised if more than a handful of our members knew Bill, yet he was a constant
background presence inprint the life of our Club and contributed in many ways to its development.
Bill was born and raised in Donaghadee and it is where he began his love of sailing. When the
Donaghadee Yacht Club was formed after WW2, Bill became involved and was Hon. Sailing Secretary
until it declined and closed down in the late 1960s.
Like many others at the time, he moved to sail in Bangor in Master McGra, the GP 14 he built in the
DYC Clubhouse on Dormans Isle. Bill graduated to racing cruisers as a member of BYC and latterly
RUYC. “Blue Moon” was a successful competitor during his ownership. Her framed photo hangs in
the Balcony Room of our Clubhouse. Latterly, he left yacht racing to others and acquired a stunning
Nelson 42 motor yacht followed by an easier managed model which he described as his Man Shed.
In his professional life he progressed in the legal profession and qualified as a solicitor becoming
partner in one of Belfast’s expanding practices. As our Club became established, Bill gave unsparingly
and freely of his legal knowledge and advice to enable many of us to become more knowledgeable
and confident in the processes of managing and running a Club. As the Club continued to grow and,
in 1980, to acquire a clubhouse – no. 20 Shore Street-, Bill willing agreed to stand as one of the
legally required Trustees that enabled the Club to own property. He was always delighted to
describe himself as the “senior Trustee” Regrettably, that is no longer the case.
Last year, due to his illness, he missed the Club’s Annual Regatta for the first time in my memory. No
doubt he will be missed for his dry wit but particularly when dense legalise needs untangled and
clarified. Donaghadee Sailing Club owes him a huge debt of gratitude and extends its sincerest
sympathy to his wife Patsy, son Paddy and the family circle.