Jim Dobbin: tribute to ‘great character in the Larne and Antrim Coast area’

Former footballer, musician and community stalwart Jim Dobbin has been remembered for touching the lives of so many people in Larne, following his death on Sunday.
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A talented goalkeeper, Jim, who was in his 80s, served in a number of other roles during his long association with the Inver Park Club.

He was also very active in the wider community whether it was donning a Santa costume or picking up a paintbrush to give the seafront railings a fresher look.

A keen musician, in his earlier days he performed alongside his wife Frankie as a cabaret duo, sharing the stage with big bands from the showband era. Married on July 25, 1961, in First Larne Presbyterian Church, the well-known couple celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in July 2021 at Cairndhu Golf Club.

Jim Dobbin. Photo: National WorldJim Dobbin. Photo: National World
Jim Dobbin. Photo: National World

Given their musical pedigree, it was perhaps not surprising their sons Mark and Gleave would make their mark as award-winning DJs. In 2018, Jim received thanks from Tullygarley Community Group for his commitment when he stepped down from the role of Santa after 50 years. Other districts had benefited from his dedication over the decades too. He also appeared as Father Christmas at Drains Bay, Ballygally and at local sports clubs.

In a tribute on Sunday, Larne FC said: "It was much sadness this morning that the club learned of the passing of Jimmy Dobbin. Jim was a former goalkeeper at the club in his younger days and went on to serve in a number of different roles off the field in more recent years and decades.

Board Member

"For many years, Inver Park was adorned with much of his signwriting as he added sponsor’s logos and details around the perimeter wall, something which was seen by thousands of home and away fans. Jim also took up the role as board member in the 2010s and continued to be a ready and willing help to his hometown club in a variety of capacities.”

Club chairman Gareth Clements said: “It was a really sad and sombre morning for the football club and the town with the news of the passing of Jimmy D as he was affectionately known. From a young player to Santa, meeter and greeter, and everything in between, Jim Dobbin had a lifetime affiliation to the club.

“He had a life well lived and a life that touched so many people through years of charitable work and putting smiles on faces. My thoughts and prayers are with Frankie, Mark, Gleave, and the entire family circle at this really difficult time.”

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There was tribute too from Larne Renovation Generation. The group stated: “The Larne Renovation Generation are sad to hear of the sudden passing of Jim Dobbin. Jim was a great character in the Larne and Antrim Coast area and will be missed by all in the Larne community. Condolences to his family and friends.”

A family notice on the Funeral Times website, said Mr Dobbin was the “dearly loved husband of Frankie and loving father of Mark and Gleave, father-in-law to Kathie and loving grandfather of Tyler, Benjamin, Sofia and Jai, brother of Roy”. It added: “Lovingly remembered and sadly missed by his entire family circle.”

His funeral service will be held on Saturday, December 9, at 1.00pm in First Larne Presbyterian Church and afterwards to Larne Cemetery.

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