Silent tribute to devoted fan Stewart

Stewart Mallon
Stewart Mallon

Portadown Football Club thought so much of life-long fan Stewart Mallon that a minute’s silence was observed before Saturday’s Irish League game with Coleraine.

Players, officials and fans atShamrock Park temporarily forgot the Ports’ current problems to honour a man whose heart and soul were in his local club.

Stewart was an ever-present figure in the old grandstand – now abandoned – until his condition of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) made it impossible for him to continue attending matches. He kept up-to-date through friends and the media.

It wasn’t MS which claimed his life in the end. He died suddenly in hospital – he was just 56 – following an infection he had contracted a few weeks earlier.

Stewart was Portadown born-and-bred and is survived by his wife Maureen, daughter Lyndsey, son Nathan and wife, mother Sylvia, sister Gail and granddaughter Holly. He was predeceased six months ago by his sister Jill. His father Trevor passed away in 1974.

His home was at Granville Court in Killicomaine estate, within a short distance of the original family home at Ulsterville Park.

Stewart attended Edenderry Primary School and Killicomaine Junior High. His first job was with the Portadown Foundry, which was “lined up” by Tommy Newell, NI Labour politician and the last Mayor of Portadown, before the town was included within Craigavon Borough Council in 1973.

After two or three years at the foundry – which closed about 30 years ago - Stuart worked in a number of places. He was barman at Portadown Golf Club for a few of years and then in Wilson’s of Edenderry. His last job was as a lorry driver - with Duke’s Transport at Vicarage Road and then with Lavery Transport at Carn. He was also a part-time ‘bouncer’ at the Seagoe Hotel for around 10 years during the dances run by Jimmy Johnston. Sadly, Jimmy died earlier this year.

Stewart was diagnosed with MS in 1999 when he was just 40 and had to give up work in 2002, having continued as long as possible. The degenerative condition took a heavy toll, and the last few years were especially tough on Stewart. He bore it with typical courage and with the support of his extended family.

The successes of Portadown Football Club in the decades at either side of the Millennium – four Irish League titles and three Irish Cups – gave his great joy, as he had supported them through thick and thin.

During his younger days, he played junior football and was a swimming enthusiast – a ‘regular’ at Portadown Swimming Pool – and that, too, was denied him in later years.

The thanksgiving service for the life of Stewart Mallon was in the Milne Funeral Services Funeral Home and was conducted by the Rector of Seagoe Parish Church, Canon Terence Cadden. Burial was in the family grave at Seagoe Cemetery, beside his late father.

Donations in lieu of flowers are to The Multiple Sclerosis Society, c/o Ian Milne Funeral Services, 59 Seagoe Road, Portadown BT63 5HS.