Wrightbus founder Sir William Wright has died at the age of 94. He was a giant in the business community in Ballymena and he was knighted for his contribution to industry in 2018, having previously been awarded a CBE in 2011 for his services to the bus industry. He was also a Unionist politician of course.
Sir William took over the family business, the Wright Group, from his father, moved it into the construction of buses and made Wrightbus a household name.
Tributes Pouring In Following His Death
Tributes have been pouring in following his death. Here are a few of these as copied from an article in the Belfast Telegraph by Adrian Rutherford:
‘Economy Minister Gordon Lyons led tributes, saying his legacy cannot be overstated.
“Sir William was a man of immense standing, not just within Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sector but also within the local community.
“A pioneer and entrepreneur of rare foresight and ability, for which he was deservedly knighted, Sir William took over the family business and moved it into the construction of buses, a process which saw it become the Wright Group, and grow into the success today that is Wrightbus.”
His Vision, Innovation & Entrepreneurship Was Exceptional
‘Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Noel Williams said Sir William was “an inspirational engineering pioneer”.
“Since its foundation by William and his father, Robert, in a tin shed in 1946, his business grew to be a global leader in its sector and has provided employment for thousands of people, particularly in the local and surrounding area.
“Sir William’s vision, innovation and entrepreneurship was exceptional and he placed Ballymena, indeed Northern Ireland, on the map for manufacturing excellence. He was a trailblazing leader of industry and commerce.”
‘Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann said: “Sir William Wright will rank as one of north Antrim’s most legendary figures.
“He built Wrightbus into a global brand and his dedication to unionism was also known throughout the globe, especially in his past role as a Ballymena councillor.
“He will always be remembered as a stalwart for Northern Ireland.”
More Entrepreneurs Are Needed To Take Chances And Push The Country Forward
There is no doubt that Sir William was one of a kind, but what we do need are more entrepreneurs of his type prepared to take chances and push the country forward, promoting economic growth, which will in turn benefit the whole community.