Sam Wilson, Co. Antrim

Sam Wilson is a retired manager who served in the RUC reserve and as a part-time member of the UDR during the height of the Troubles. His cousin Edward Spence, a serving officer in the RUC, was killed in May 1991 and no-one has ever been convicted of his murder.

One of his reasons for joining the Forum was his experience of working with victims and survivors groups for more than 10 years:

“Seeing how much those individuals and their families suffered encouraged me to do what I can to help alleviate their pain, and to try and bring some closure.”

Sam also brings 35 years’ experience of working in a management role, where he had to deal with sectarian incidents against his staff and dangerous Troubles-related situations on his work premises.

“During my 15 years of service as a member of the security forces, I saw many problems caused by mental trauma among both serving and former colleagues,” he said

Being part of the Forum will, Sam believes, help keep victims and survivors issues at the forefront of political debate.

“I hope that we can help resolve some of the issues around the lack of justice and closure for many of those suffering and also highlight the need for better mental health services. I am also keen to learn from my fellow Forum members what their experiences of the ‘Troubles’ have been.”

By 2019, Sam hopes that there will be some “comfort and closure” for at least some victims and survivors.

“I hope that each member of the Forum will have a better understanding of ‘the other side’s’ point of view and accept that everyone’s pain, loss and suffering are the same.”