In memory of Wrightbus founder Sir William Wright, who passed away aged 94

Tributes have been paid to the founder of Wrightbus, Sir William Wright, who has died aged 94.

Sir William founded the company in Co Antrim with his father Robert after World War II.

It was the first company in the UK to manufacture electric buses.

A prototype Wrightbus hydrogen bus on display (PA) (PA Archive)

Wrightbus built London’s Routemaster double-decker – dubbed the “Boris Bus” – at the behest of the Prime Minister when he was mayor and chairman of London’s Department of Transport, the operator of public transport of the capital.

However, it fell into financial trouble in recent years and was acquired by British industrialist Jo Bamford in 2019.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley told Sir William’s death that Ballymena “has lost a giant”.

He described him as “an unrivalled businessman”, adding: “We won’t see him like that again.”

In a statement, Mr Paisley said: “I would like to extend to Lady Wright and all of her family my sincerest condolences to my family and our party members for their loss.

“Sir William is a colossal figure. He is one of the last true leaders of industry and commerce and one who has left his mark, not only locally but globally.

“Everywhere there is engineering, manufacturing or selling of buses, his genius will be remembered.”

Mr Paisley described Sir William as a political and business leader who was “enthusiastic about jobs and skills training for locals”.

“He loved Northern Ireland and he was dedicated in everything he did,” he said.

“In his presence, you know you are with someone remarkable. He has an X factor that very few people have. But those who have it will make a difference to everyone around. Northern Ireland is lucky to have you as a son.

“For his immediate family and extended family. They can take courage in his faith, a strong faith. His witness has a purpose. At a time of their great loss, they know many people across the country will be praying for them.”

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