Trevor’ very humbled’ by BEM Honour

Monday January 8th 2024

Mr Trevor Douglas BEM outside Belfast Cathedral where he is General Manager. Trevor is also Connor Diocesan Development Manager.

Diocesan Development Manager Trevor Douglas has described being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) by King Charles III in his New Year Honours’ List as ‘very humbling.’

Trevor, who is also General Manager of Belfast Cathedral, received his award for services to peacebuilding and to the community in Northern Ireland.

Trevor has worked for Connor Diocese for the past 10 years, and prior to that was manager of The Jethro Centre in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

He is married to Karen, and they have two daughters, Laura and Joy, and became grandparents to baby Poppy during 2023.

Trevor continues to live in Lurgan, where he grew up in an interface area of the town. “This set me on a course where I realised that this country needed to go down a different route than it was in the early 1970s,” he said.

The owner of a plumbing supplies company, Trevor was a volunteer with Shankill Parish Caring Association for 10 years. He was appointed the first manager of the new Jethro Centre, set up by Shankill Parish, in 2004.

“I was determined it would not be a community centre but would be at the centre of the community,” Trevor said. “The position enabled me to start peacebuilding projects and initiatives in Lurgan.”

One of these, a year-long project named ‘Understanding Your Neighbour,’ brought people from Protestant and Catholic communities together, supporting them in understanding their faith, culture, belief, and ambitions.

Among other things, the Jethro Centre also ran cross-community youth projects and worked with ex-prisoners.

Trevor’s peacebuilding work continued when he joined Connor Diocese. “Some of the work has been around parading issues, working with community groups in north Belfast along with our former Bishop, Alan Abernethy, and Fr Gary Donegan, as well as community groups involved in the Twaddell Avenue dispute,” Trevor said.

“I am now working closely with the Dean of Belfast, the Rt Rev Stephen Forde, and Fr Martin Magill, together with a small cross-community steering group around establishing a new cross-community project based in St Anne’s Cathedral.”

Trevor said the BEM was awarded to people specifically for work in their local community. “I find this very humbling and a bit emotional,” Trevor said. “If my mum and dad had been alive today they could not comprehend it, as I cannot comprehend it. When I first received a letter telling me about the nomination for the award, I had to read it a couple of times.”

Trevor currently worships in St Saviour’s Parish Church, Dollingstown.

“I have always believed that the best way to serve God is to serve others in HIS name and the fact that you are recognised by the King for doing that is somewhat incomprehensible to me,” he added.

“What challenges me most is that as an individual I have always tried to work in the background and it is unusual for me to be highlighted. To be rewarded for something you are passionate about leaves me feeling quite overwhelmed.”

The BEM Awards are likely to be presented at Hillsborough Castle later this year. “I am a Royalist, I respect the Monarchy, which makes this Honour from the King all the more poignant,” Trevor said.


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