Bowling community mourns passing of Jim Richardson

THE local bowling community has been stunned by the sudden passing of Jim Richardson.

The Randalstown man, who was a popular and hugely respected figure within the sport, died suddenly last week at the age of 66.

A farmer by profession, Jim was involved in all facets of bowls locally, as a player, administrator and umpire and he approached each of those tasks with equal enthusiasm and vigour.

He played for his church, Duneane Presbyterian, in the Antrim & District Churches League, and for Ballymena United Social Club in the Ballymena & District League, for whom he also held the position of secretary.

Jim’s talent on the mats saw him play for a number of years on the Mid-Antrim Zone team, for whom he was also a selector for a lengthy period.

He also enjoyed the outdoor discipline and played for Old Bleach’s junior team, as well as being a committee member of the Neillsbrook club.

Old Bleach’s Ballymena & District League Cup match against Antrim Lawn Bowling Club went ahead on Friday night at the insistence of Jim’s family and a minute’s silence was impeccably observed beforehand.

He was also an Irish Indoor Bowling Association-registered umpire, who officiated at tournaments throughout the country - a position in which he was held in the highest of regard.

But Jim was particularly associated with the Duneane Presbyterian Church singles tournament, which he organised for the past 22 years.

The event was always known as the ‘Christmas’ tournament locally, given its December slot in the tournament calendar, and it always attracted bumper turnouts, including players from far beyond the Mid-Antrim area, often from as far afield as counties Monaghan and Donegal.

In typical fashion, Jim tried to reciprocate by taking part in as many tournaments as he could involving clubs who supported his own competition.

Jim’s funeral service took place at Duneane Presbyterian Church on Friday, with interment in the adjoining burial ground.

The huge attendance at his funeral was indicative of the esteem in which he was held in many different circles.

Sympathy is extended to the family circle.