Mr Jimmy Burns

MR Jimmy Burns, of Strangford Avenue, Killyleagh, who has died at the age of 87, was a man of remarkable verve and spirit, who an unquenchable thirst for life which belied his years.

He was full of enthusiasm for everything he did — whether at work, sport, fund-raising for charities or looking after his beloved family. He had an unshakeable ‘can-do’ attitude to just about everything and there was little he couldn’t — or wouldn’t — undertake.

Born in Belfast, Jimmy was educated at Cooke Primary School and Belfast Royal Academy. On finishing school he joined the builders merchants JP Corry, where he was to remain for 46 years, starting off as a clerk and rising to become a specialist in roofing and timber construction. Utterly loyal and dependable, he was much valued for his expert knowledge, which he shared generously with clients and friends.

He married his wife and best friend, Paddy, in 1954 and was blessed with three children, who were raised in a loving family environment.

Other than work and family, Jimmy’s greatest passions were rugby and sailing.

He was a former captain and president of Malone Rugby Club and did much to boost the club’s fortunes both on and off the field. He played a pivotal role in developing the club’s facilities and made many lifelong friends.

Later he took up sailing, which he greatly enjoyed in the company of his family, firstly at Quoile Yacht Club and later at East Down Yacht Cub and Killyleagh Yacht Club. As with rugby, he relished the competition and afterwards the camaraderie of the clubhouse.

He had a great sense of helping the less fortunate and in doing so was a tireless fundraiser for the Wooden Spoon rugby charity and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Outward going and full of fun, Jimmy was a kind, thoughtful and generous man. The respect and affection in which he was held was evident at the largely attended service of thanksgiving for his life, which was held at Roselawn Crematorium on January 31.

Sympathy is extended to Paddy, their children, Karen, Julie and Peter, sons-in-law John and Graham, daughter-in-law Gail and grandchildren Hanna, Catherine, Anna and Stewart.