A FAMILIAR figure in the Larne old time dancing circuit has died in his 93rd year.
Francis (Frankie) Hill was a talented footballer in his younger days and had starred for Larne, Ballyclare Comrades and Glentoran II.
On one memorable Christmas Day in 1943, Frankie and his brother Billy were in direct opposition in the Steel and Sons Cup final between Ballyclare Comrades and Glentoran II, and to mark the occasion their father Frank (senior) was accorded the honour of performing a ceremonial kick-off.
On that day, Frankie was on the losing Glentoran side at Solitude, and never won a coveted Steel & Sons Cup medal, but he could boast a collection of several Intermediate Cup gongs.
Throughout his life Frankie maintained a close interest in the Comrades, and a few years ago he presented the club with a pair of his old fashioned ankle protecting boots, complete with leather reinforced toe caps, and they have been allocated a prominent place in the Bob Girvan Boardroom at Dixon Park.
Although born in Ballyclare, Frankie lived for many years with his late wife Madge in Larne, where he was employed as a crane driver at the Port of Larne. While there he developed his passion for deep sea diving, and although unable to pursue this pursuit in recent years, he still retained much of the diving paraphernalia in his home at Circular Road, until he transferred to Clareview Nursing Home in Ballyclare a few years ago.
In his latter years he developed an interest in old time dancing, and spent many happy Saturday evenings at the weekly Head of the Town dance in the Old Presbyterian Church Hall in Larne’s Meetinghouse Street. During this phase he also amassed an impressive collection of tapes and discs featuring dance music, and he became a popular disc jockey with the old time dancing fraternity in the east Antrim area.
Frankie had been in failing health in recent months and spent his final weeks in Whiteabbey Hospital where he passed away peacefully.
He is survived by his brother Rev Bob Hill in Canada, who faithfully returned to Ballyclare frequently to visit his brother.
Representatives from the various aspects of Frankie's life joined with family and friends at the memorial service in St John's Parish Church in Ballyclare, which was followed by interment in Ballyclare Cemetery.