The Richhill community yesterday (Thursday) celebrated the life of a key figure in the village’s sporting history as mourners met to pay tribute to Jim Wilson.
The 67-year-old, who died on Friday during a one-car collision along the Portadown Road, will be remembered as a founder member of Richhill Football Club and driving force for generations behind the sport’s progress in the close-knit region.
A popular goalscorer in his playing days with Ahorey, Jim introduced the Richhill club into the Mid-Ulster Football League with help from co-founder Jackie McCoo.
His drive and passion for the development of football within the village led to an early rise up the league rankings as enthusiastic young players proved eager to represent the local club.
And for those initially uncertain of signing for Richhill, Jim’s persistence and passion often proved decisive.
“He worked so hard to build up the club and keep it running, with an input into every area,” said Jackie. “I first knew Jim as a team-mate at Ahorey and he was a talented player.
“He asked me to help him form Richhill about 30-plus years ago and it is testament to Jim’s dedication that football in the village remains so strong to this day.
“Richhill and Broomhill amalgamated this summer and it is a partnership I am sure Jim would have backed as it should make football so much stronger in this area.
“He took real pride in providing a club for players from the village and had such commitment.
“He just loved football and often would have been waiting in my home when I returned from work to discuss one issue or another.
“There was a gap in the community once players left the Boys’ Brigade and Jim was keen to help fill that space.
“He was the main man and always persuading players to come on board or sponsors to get involved with the club.
“He did so much for football in Richhill and we enjoyed some wonderful times.”
A PSNI spokesman confirmed a post-mortem was expected to establish cause of death.
He is survived by wife Anne and children. The funeral was due to take place at 2 o’clock in St Aidan’s Parish Church, Kilmore.