THE death has taken place of former Ballymoney businessman, Colin McVicker. He was in his 71st year and had been ill for sometime.
Mr. McVicker was a highly respected member of the community who, in addition to running a Sports Shop for a time in Main Street, played a prominent role in public life.
He was chairman of the Ballymoney Sports Advisory Committee and helped launch the Ballymoney Times Sports Awards of the Year in the 1990’s.
Mr. Vicker displayed great enthusiasm for highlighting the sporting achievements of people in the Borough and his input into the Awards as well as the running of his committee was significant.
In 1997, Mr. McVicker sought to gain a place on Ballymoney Borough Council during local Government elections. He stood as an Independent hoping to give voice to the business community as well as to ratepayers of the town, but lost out at a time when the recognised parties proved more popular.
He also taught part time at Dalriada School along with his Portadown born wife, Arlene, who also taught in Ballymoney.
The McVicker family were passionate about sport and it was with some pride that the McVicker parents watched their daughters progress in hockey with each playing at a high level and, Lynsey, winning numerous caps for Ireland.
Mr. McVicker was also a noted athlete and played cricket for Ballymena. Former journalist, Billy Spence, who was in the same team in the 1960s, described his colleague as an excellent batsman and wicket-keeper.
“Colin was a strong man who served the club well. His passing is to be mourned,” Mr. Spence said.
The funeral took place on Sunday to Toberkeigh Presbyterian Church. Rev. Mark Jones conducted the service, but the Rev. Denis Bannerman, paid tribute to Mr. McVicker.
Part of his address was as follows: “Robert Colin John McVicker was born on the 13th November 1941, the third of four children of Dr. James & Mrs Frances McVicker of Craignamaddy.
Although raised on a family farm, it became obvious at an early age that Colin’s interests lay more in the sporting arena than in farming – a realisation that would not have surprised, or possibly disappointed, his parents. A competitive spirit was probably genetic – a trait that seems to have continued within his own 4 daughters – Louise, Lyndsey, Judith and Jacqui.
Colin’s education began, like most children in the area, at the local primary school before moving to Rockport Boarding School, at Craigavad in Co.Down. With sport occupying a prominent part in the curriculum it would surely have nurtured Colin’s sporting and competitive instincts.
He was to follow his late brother Jimmy to Glenalmond College, in Perthshire, Scotland, where still today sport and the Arts figure prominently in the ethos of the school. Founded by William Ewart Gladstone who went on to become one of Britain’s most famous Prime Ministers – it was here that a talent for both cricket and rugby were developed.
On returning to Craignamaddy and to a farming lifestyle, Colin continued his interest in things sporting – playing for and Captaining Ballymena 1st XV to Ulster Honours, and always with a fiercely competitive spirit – (an attitude that has stood him in good stead during the health battles of the past year or so).
Many will know that for some years Colin, Arlene and the girls lived in Ballymoney where, following University, he opened a Sports Shop.
He became a Volunteer Guide for the National Trust Heritage Site at the Giant’s Causeway – an opportunity he embraced with some relish.
Like his father before him, Colin was an Elder in this congregation, having been ordained to the Office 23 years after his father - on 12th October 1969 the youngest of 5 new Elders installed at the time.
Personally, I have only known Colin for a little over 5 years, but I found him to be a man of the utmost integrity. Around the church, he was a man of few words and not often did he venture an opinion at a meeting of Kirk Session or Committee – but when he did have something to say it was always worth hearing.
As a Minister, I found him always to be supportive and helpful.
Today, we give thanks for a man who not only got much from life but who put much into it too! We extend our deepest sympathy to Arlene, and to the girls, Louise, Lyndsey, Judith and Jacqui and to Harvey, Bryan, and Colin and the grand-children, Patrick, Molly & Flynn; and to Colin’s sisters Moira and Maida.”