Ex-Northern Ireland international to guest at Ballyclare Comrades’ centenary service

A Centenary Thanksgiving Service will be held at Dixon Park this Sunday (May 12) as part of events to mark 100 years of Ballyclare Comrades.

Dr Robson Davison (right), author of a book detailing the history of Ballyclare Comrades, will take part in the centenary service. Picture by Freddie Parkinson.

It will be, say the organisers, a unique opportunity for the whole community to join the players, officials and supporters to look back on 100 years and give thanks to God for the fun and the friendship, the achievements and successes, the challenges and disappointments.

Representatives from the club will take part in the service, together with Dr Robson Davison, the author of the recently published book tracing the club’s history from the ‘old comrades’ who returned to Ballyclare from the horrors and losses of the First World War and decided to form a football team, which became Ballyclare Comrades FC.

The music will be provided by Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band, whose distinguished musical history also began 100 years ago.

The special guests at the service, representing Sports Chaplaincy NI, will be two men who have not only had very successful sporting careers, but who are also well known for the way in which they lived out their Christian faith in the world of sport.

They are Roy Walker, former player with Luton Town, Ards, Glenavon, Portadown and Crusaders and former manager of Crusaders, Glenavon and Ballymena United and Stuart Elliott, capped 38 times for Northern Ireland and former player with Glentoran, Motherwell, Hull City, Doncaster Rovers, Hamilton Academical and Stirling Albion.

The service will be conducted by Rev Robert Bell, from Ballyclare Presbyterian Church, who has enjoyed supporting the club throughout his years in the town, and been available to give them any encouragement and support he could. The congregation will be seated in the main stand at Dixon Park, while the service will be conducted from a dais on the pitch. The club extends a warm invitation to the whole community to join them for this very special event.