Larne says sad farewell to ‘larger-than-life’ businessman and sports enthusiast

Larne businessman David Liddle, who died last month, will be remembered as a “larger-than-life-character” who contributed much to the wider community.
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A member of a well-known Larne family, Mr Liddle was also closely associated with East Antrim Boat Club, Wellington Rec FC and the Rotary Club of Larne.

David, who was the husband of Joanne, died peacefully at home on October 27. He was 66. Representatives of those interest organisations and many others joined family and friends at First Larne Presbyterian Church for his funeral service.

Minister Rev Dr Colin McClure told mourners: “When David Alexander Liddle was born on Tuesday, 25th September 1956, fourth child to Tommy and Marjorie, little brother to Elaine, Sandra, Bill and subsequently big brother to the late Raymond, and Stephen, little did we know what lay ahead – for David, his family, our community and our world. So much has changed since that day in 1956 when we could only make 35 simultaneous transatlantic telephone calls. But some things don’t change. In so many ways the David Liddle we have known has been a larger-than-life character among family and friends – but with a constancy, an unchanging, humanity and decency, honour and integrity.

David Liddle.David Liddle.
David Liddle.

“Gathered together for his funeral we have each enjoyed a slightly different and nuanced journey with David – but for each of us, I am sure our experience has been of that genuine warm-hearted, big-hearted guy who, although possessed of the worldly wisdom required for business also seemed at times to have that winsome naivety that just made him so likeable. Even in these last few months when I spoke with him at church, or met with him elsewhere or called at his home I never once heard a complaint. Mostly his first words were asking how I was.”

In a tribute during the service, David’s brother Bill traced his sibling’s life from school days to a prominent role in the town’s business sector.

Bill said: “You don’t need me to remind you of the character with character that has been David Liddle. I am sure there are those here could tell of the times at Olderfleet Primary and Larne High. There may even be a few who shared the early training as an electrical engineer. However, most will associate David with his business life. That began when he followed in his father’s footsteps into the retail food industry.

"After his career at sea Tommy had established himself in the commercial life of this town. David had oversight of several shops in the town over the years until he moved into the building and property business. Business not only gave him a career; it also gave him a wife. Joanne tells me they were very young when they worked together in the Kenarna Fish and Chip Shop – a relationship that was to mature over 48 years, through the vicissitudes of life.”

Many young people in the town had their first foray into the working world at one of David’s businesses and a lot of them went on to become his friend. He also established firm friendships through his other interests. A Wellington Rec stalwart, including serving as chairman, David was also a very active member of East Antrim Boat Club and a proud Rotarian.

Following the funeral service, interment took place at St John's Parish Churchyard, Glynn.