Local man Jackie Bell was laid to rest at Greenland Cemetery on Saturday, October 4 after passing away in his sleep on the first of the month.
The 87-year-old was a well-known and active member of the Larne community for many years.
The service was appropriately held in Craigyhill Presbyterian Church, with a gathering afterwards in the church hall where Jackie spent much of his time.
Born on September 24 1927, John Bell was named after his father and became known as Jackie. He was educated at Bank Road Primary School and as an electrician at Larne Technical College. He married Isabella Hume in 1951 and they enjoyed 63 years of happy marriage. The couple owned and ran the main shop in Antiville for many years during the 1980s. After working for ICI factory for many years, Jackie found his perfect job as caretaker in the Moyle Primary School, where his positive attitude and helpfulness left a lasting impression.
While Jackie served on Craigyhill Presbyterian Church committee and choir, it was his involvement with the Boys’ Brigade that made him a well-known figure in the town.
He was very proud to serve as Captain of Third Larne Boys’ Brigade for 17 years, and his infectious enthusiasm left a lasting impression. He took great pleasure from Craigyhill’s victories on the sports field, marching and other competitions. He was particularly interested in football, but also worked tirelessly to encourage long distance running. For many years he was in charge of the Boys’ Brigade’s football team and many former players will remember with fondness his excitable Brian Clough-like managerial style. Although they did not have any children of their own, Jackie and Belle Bell acted as a surrogate parents for numerous local children.
In his later years Jackie turned to the game of bowls, playing indoor for Craigyhill Presbyterian and joined the Curran Bowling Green. He served as Club President at the Curran and played indoor, outdoor and stadium bowls. He was still participating in his favourite hobby a week before his unexpected passing. He earned many new friends during his years of bowling and was always ready to help organise matches and encourage new players. Jackie will be sorely missed by his extended family and the wide circle of friends he built up during his long and happy life in Larne.