A Career in Care Remembered
A small, intimate, and personal commemoration event took place at Kirk House residential care home in east Belfast yesterday to remember the life and influence of Bertie Sharpe.
Bertie was the Director of BCM for 18 years before his retirement in 2006. Following his death in February 2020 there had been plans put in place for his legacy to be remembered fittingly, yet, as with so many things that year, those plans had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having been the Director of Social Work at Belfast Central Mission, Bertie had been pivotal in selecting the site for what would become Kirk House, the award-winning care home on the Kings Road. In his role, Bertie led the negotiations with the owner of the land who appreciated that a charity and provider of social care could utilise the site to its full potential, rather than a developer.
In addition to the opening of Kirk House, Bertie was also influential in the development of BCM’s new Headquarters building at Grosvenor House in the city centre for use by the congregation, staff, and volunteers.
Bertie’s family, friends and former colleagues were delighted to come together to pay their respects with a short service in the residents’ Common Room at Kirk House. It was led by Nicky Conway, BCM’s Chief Executive, Rev. David Kerr, a former Superintendent of the organisation, and Cindy Scott, who was Bertie’s Deputy during his time at BCM.
The group of 30 attendees and well-wishers then moved to the home’s landscaped front gardens to plant a tree in Bertie’s memory and a bouquet was presented to Florence Sharpe, Bertie’s widow, and their daughter Stephanie. The event concluded with a framed photo being presented to Nicky by Florence and Stephanie of Bertie with Nicky and Brian Burns, a fellow former Director of Social Work.
“We have been working closely with Florence and Stephanie over the last couple of months to ensure this event is an appropriate and fitting tribute for someone who was so loved by so many within our organisation and wider BCM family.
“He was a well-known and loved figure in the Social Work field in Northern Ireland and was a visionary leader who strove to meet need wherever he saw it, whether on a personal or professional level.
“We are glad that such a large number of Bertie’s friends and former colleagues were able to come to share in this occasion and we look forward to this tree invoking memories of his legacy for generations to come.”
For more information on Kirk House visit www.kirhousecarehome.co.uk