Published on Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ex-ABTA president Wesley Pentland passes away

Former ABTA president Wesley Pentland, one of the most well-known figures in the Northern Ireland travel industry, has died aged 78.

He was the owner of Belfast-based Rigby Travel which later become Wesley Pentland Travel.

Besides becoming president of ABTA, he was the only person from the province to act as chairman of the Institute of Travel and Tourism in the mid 1980s.

Recognised as the voice of the travel trade in Northern Ireland for decades, Pentland started his career in travel working at Portadown Railway Station.

He went on to manage Co-op Travel in Belfast before taking over at Rigby Travel during the 1960s. He bought the agency in 1978 and renamed it after a few years.

As Divisional Envoy in The Salvation Army, in which he served for 55 years, Pentland preached extensively throughout Northern Ireland and the world, taking the opportunity on his many travels to link up with Salvation Army centres in Europe, Canada and the US.

He also served as a member of the Democratic Unionist Party’s Assembly team from 1982 to 1986, as representative for the North Down constituency.

Pentland died on Sunday (September 23), leaving behind his wife Yvonne, sons Philip and Stephen, and their extended families.

He will be sadly missed by everyone in the travel industry and the wider Northern Ireland business community, by his political colleagues and his many friends in The Salvation Army.

The funeral will take place at 11.00 on Thursday at The Salvation Army’s Ireland Divisional HQ, 12 Station Mews, Sydenham, Belfast BT4 1TL.

by Phil Davies

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