St Mark’s man who helped paint church and the Goodyear factory

Rupert Cinnamond.
Rupert Cinnamond.

Rupert Cinnamond was a man of many talents.

He started his career as a psychiatric nurse, then made his mark as a painter and decorator, and enjoyed healthy hobbies like gardening and attending horse fairs throughout Ireland.

He passed away at Sandringham Nursing Home after a short illness, having moved there just four weeks prior to his death – he had lived at nearby Springfields, Gilford Road, his wife Lena having died in October 2010.

Mr Cinnamond (83) was also the father of Lawrence, Nigel and Pamela; father-in-law of Jacqui, Nikki and Mark; grandad to Linzi, Claire, Peter, Andrew, Stephen, Adam and Rebecca; and great-grandfather of Khloe.

A proud ‘Mourne Man’, he came from the Newcastle area, brought up in a farm, and it was there that he began his love for horses – not the racing type, but farm animals like Clydesdales and ponies and other working horses. He had a treasured collection of porcelain equines in his home.

A cherished family story is that he never really liked school, and on the day schooldays ended in his native Newcastle, he jettisoned his schoolbag over a hedge, never to set eyes on it again!

His first job, after working for a period on the farm, was as a psychiatric nurse at Purdysburn, near Belfast – he lived then in the Lisburn area. But he preferred painting and decorating and started his apprenticeship with a Lambeg firm.

He met his future wife Lena (nee Hunniford of Armagh Road, Portadown) on a blind date. The story goes that they went to a film – not a terribly romantic one, ‘The Dam Busters’.

They wed at Lena’s church, St Mark’s, and they initially lived in Lambeg for eight years. Then they moved to Portadown soon afterwards and spent most of their married life at Oakleigh Park, moving to Springfields a few years ago.

They remained devoted members of St Mark’s, and at Saturday’s funeral service, the Rector Rev Canon Jim Campbell told the mourners that Rupert had helped with the painting and decoration of the church, by painting the chancel and the pulpit.

He also remarked that Rupert had married into the family of broadcaster Gloria Hunniford, who is the sister of the late Lena. Gloria, who was ill after surgery, was unable to attend the funeral. It was erroneously stated that she had been on holiday. Her husband Stephen Way and elder son Paul represented the family on Saturday.

Rupert’s career included working for a private firm, which landed the painting contract for the massive Goodyear factory at Craigavon which eventually closed, after which he was in charge of maintenance at the Berwoods chain of stores, including the Portadown branch at the Market Street-Woodhouse Street corner. He ended his career with Craigavon Borough Council, rising to a supervisory post.

Gardening and horses were his favourite hobbies. He travelled to horse fairs all over Ireland, an expert in the field and advising farmers and owners on their purchases. And he tended the gardens at his various homes with care and expertise, both flowers and vegetable.

Rev Canon Campbell conduced the service at St Mark’s, assisted by auxiliary minister Rev Amelia McWilliams and curate Rev Keith Marshall. Son Nigel and grandsons Andrew and Peter took part in the service.

Burial was at Seagoe Cemetery. Donations, in lieu of flowers, are to Gloria’s charity, the Caron Keating Foundation, via Milne Funeral Services, 59 Seagoe Road, Portadown BT63 5HS.