‘Mr Badminton’ honoured for decades of service

Lisburn man Bob Colhoun has been awarded an MBE in recognition of over fifty years of service to the world of badminton in Northern Ireland.

Bob, who was fundamental in the establishment of the Alpha Badminton Club in Lisburn, as well as the city’s internationally renowned Racquets Club, was both delighted and shocked to receive the honour.

“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I have my suspicions about who nominated me but I don’t know for certain.

“I was delighted when I heard about it in November but it was a real shock.

“Over the last 55 years I have looked after thousands of children who have been learning how to play badminton.

“I have always volunteered and really enjoy seeing them progress. It keeps kids off the streets and gets them away from their computers and phones. Fifty years ago they didn’t have that but there was still plenty of rowdiness and it was good to get kids off the streets.”

Brian Kelly, Media Administrator with Alpha Badminton Club, said the honour was long overdue. “Badminton has been his life, Alpha Badminton Club has been his life and this honour is long overdue but could not be more appropriate at this time as the club has just celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its Christmas Tournament. It was Bob’s brainchild, not surprisingly, but he doesn’t take any credit for it saying that it was introduced all those years ago to give the junior players a tournament while they are off on the Christmas holidays.

“The fact that our local international players have come up through the ranks of the tournament is testament to Bob’s forethought at the time and he has also been the club’s secretary since the mid 1950s.

“The honour comes with those involved in the sport locally knowing that Bob is our ‘Mr Badminton’,” he added.

Freeman of Lisburn, Ivan Davis, congratulated Bob on his honour. “I was delighted to see Bob being honoured because he has worked tirelessly in the sport of badminton,” said Mr Davis. “It is good to see sport being recognised in the Lisburn city area.”