Mr Charles Oakes

CHARLIE Oakes, from Downpatrick, who passed away peacefully at Oakridge Care Home, Ballynahinch, on June 19, was a hugely popular man who will be much missed.

Full of fun and rarely without a smile on his face, Charlie made many friends, not only in home town but also in places much further afield.

He was a much admired sportsman, most notably on the football field where his exploits were legendary, but his unquenchable enthusiasm for life, easy-going nature and kindness made him special.

Charlie was born in Downpatrick in 1938, the eldest son of Bill and Molly Oakes and brother to the late John, Essie and Tony. He is survived by sisters, Kathleen and Bridget, loving wife Ann, children Raymond, Barry, Anne Marie, J C and Damian, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Fondly remembered as ‘Wee Charlie’ because of his small stature, he was a great family man and companion. Away from his family, sport was his passion. He played table tennis, golf and, in his later years, bowls, but is greatest love was football.

He will probably be best remembered most for his association with the all-conquering Downpatrick Rec side of the late 1970s and early 1980s when he was assistant manager and then manager of a team which swept all before it.

However, he was a hugely talented player and at the tender age of 15 went to England after signing for Lincoln City. He then moved to Tamworth before returning home where he played for a while with Cliftonville in the Irish League.

He also played with distinction for a number of local clubs, including Killyleagh and Drumaness, before getting involved in management. In 2000 he was named in the greatest ever Killyleagh YC team to mark the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the club.

His interest in football never waned and he was to play bowls with the same competitive edge and determination that he showed on the football field. He played for the Owenbeg club and was honoured when he was made club president.

However, he was most proud of his family and there was no better husband, father, grandfather or great grandfather. The sympathy of the community is extended to them.