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Larne Orange District stalwart David Craig was ‘family man through and through’

Larne Orange District Secretary David Craig was remembered as a “family man through and through” at his funeral service in the town’s Gardenmore Church yesterday (Tuesday).

David Craig.

Mr Craig died peacefully at home on January 12. He was the husband of Margaret and father of Sally, Michelle, David and Freda.

Born on June 1, 1944 in Larne, David was brought up at the family home on Mill Street, where his parents Edward and Agnes lived. One of seven children, he attended Larne and Inver Primary School before going on to Greenland Secondary School. The Craig family were members of the Church of Ireland and belonged to St Cedma’s congregation.

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Mr Craig, who had a long association with Newtownabbey-based football team Mossley FC, had been a talented footballer in his youth, before injury unfortunately ended his career.

Addressing mourners, Rev Gary Glasgow said: “When he left school aged about 16, Davy went over to play football in England after he was scouted by Accrington Stanley. It was a dream for Davy who had always loved football, and was a talented and committed player as a boy and a teenager. However, he sustained a serious injury, back in the days whenever advanced reparative surgery to sportsmen was still very much in its infancy, and he had to return home, back to Larne, and seek to make his living outside of the world of football.

“Consequently he had numerous jobs in the early years of his working life. He was a machinist in the GEC, and a labourer in Curran Saw Mills. He worked for Ivex pharmacy as a delivery driver as well as in the stores of that company. But it was when he worked as a protectionist in the Regal Cinema and there was a crowd of young people that had gathered for a football kick about and general get together, that he met and began to go out with Peggy, and after a few years of courtship, they were married here in Gardenmore on December 2, 1967, beginning a marriage of some 54 years, of commitment, faithfulness and devotion. And when Davy and Peggy married, Davy joined Gardenmore Church.”

Rev Glasgow continued: “Family life was paramount for Davy and he was never happier than when he was with them and sharing in the lives of his children and his grandchildren and the whole family.

“He was active, and involved in this family’s life, whether it was simply being there to baby sit, or doing the school runs, or taking them to various sports and clubs, helping out and giving of his time was never a chore, it was a pleasure and delight. He was fun to be with, he regaled you with his stories, and he brought smiles and laughs into your lives as he maybe even spoiled you all down through the years.”

Football was an important part of Mr Craig’s life and although his playing career had been cut short, he played an active role at teams in the east Antrim area.

Rev Glasgow stated: “People knew him from his lively interest in local football, as a player in his youth, through to being a referee in the amateur leagues, as a kit-man, physio, groundsman, committee member and at one time club secretary of Newington Rangers, as well as his involvement in Mossley Football Club as a supporter and behind the scenes worker.

“Not many involved in local football in east Antrim would not have known Davy Craig at some level, and his hours of voluntary work and his enthusiasm for the sport in general was very much appreciated by many - and his encouragement to those around him was infectious.

“He was a supporter, of course, of Larne FC, and of Heart of Midlothian in Scotland, and Tottenham Hotspur in England, shunning the, shall we say, more popular clubs, to give his passionate and lifelong support to Hearts and Spurs.”

Rev Glasgow added: “He always loved a dog around the house, again, not only for him but for Freda as well. Both he and Peggy had West Highland Terriers, and Jack Russell, and all different breeds, to have something to snuggle up to or sit on their knees, and for Freda to pet and adore.

“Davy loved going on holidays. He caravaned often in Ballywalter, Millisle and up to Ballycastle for many years. Trips over to Blackpool and over to Scotland, and off to London with Peggy for their wedding anniversary - again, it was family time, enjoying the company of those who were nearest and dearest to him.

“Davy Craig was a Larne man through and through, a family man through and through and a good neighbour and friend through and through. He was always active, always out and about, whether on foot, in his car, or latterly in the wee scooter that he had and buzzed about the place in. Talkative, endearing, engaging, Davy wold have helped anyone if he could and taken time to talk to anyone.”

Mr Craig also had a long association with the loyal orders, being a member of the Loyal Orange Institution, the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Royal Black Institution, holding a variety of offices in the organisations, serving as the Secretary of Larne District LOL No.1.

Paying tribute, District Master Roy Beggs said: “In 2018 Bro David Craig stepped forward volunteering to take up the role as District Secretary of Larne District LOL No1 ably supported by his son David Craig Jnr, Assistant secretary.

“I remember that David almost always had a smile on his face. He loved engaging with members and carrying out his role as District Secretary. He was old school, excellent in dealing face to face with members and was frequently on the phone organising events and he had David Jnr to assist him with his knowledge of computers. Together they made a great team.

“David was presented with his 60th bar only last year, recognising his remarkable 60 years as a member of the Orange Order.

“He will be sadly missed by Larne brethren and indeed brethren from further afield. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Margaret daughters Sally, Michelle and Freda and his son David together with the wider family circle.”

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