Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Alex Higgins' secret love child misses funeral

Chris Delahunty
Chris Delahunty
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
Tribute and Flowers left at the sister of snooker legend Alex Higgins, house in Iverna Close in Belfast ahead of his funeral
Short poem written by Alex Higgins
A note from Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins, George Best , Jackie Charlton and Denis Taylor
Tommy McCaughran with Alex Higgins, George Best and Alex's father
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
The cortege of snooker legend Alex Higgins makes a poignant journey through the centre of Belfast on its way to St Anne's Cathedral. August 2010
People read floral tributes left for Alex Higgins on Belfast's Donegal Road
A woman taking a picture of a new mural of Alex Higgins at the Royal Bar on Belfast's Donegal Road. August 2010
Alex Higgins in his 1985 heyday at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield
05-01-1980. Confetti scatters at the wedding of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins and bride Lynn, at the United Reform church in Wilmslow.
Alex Higgins
A book of condolence has been opened for former snooker world champion Alex Higgins
Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins
Snooker legend Alex Higgins. 2010
Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins, 1949-2010
Former world champion Alex Higgins in action in 1994
Alex Hurricane Higgins
Former world champion Alex Higgins in action in 1994
05-01-1980. Confetti scatters at the wedding of Alex 'Hurricane' Higgins and bride Lynn, at the United Reform church in Wilmslow.
21-04-1986, Alex Higgins enjoys a cigarette during a moment's break during the Embassy World Snooker Championship match against John Spencer in Sheffield.

Alex Higgins
'The Hurricane' played snooker with a style and verve never before seen and won the World Championship in 1972, beating John Spencer in the final and again in 1982. That latter triumph, against six-times champion Ray Reardon, is best remembered for Higgins' tears at the end as he cradled his baby daughter in his arms. Higgins' win over Jimmy White in the semi-final was regarded as one of the all time great matches, particularly the Belfast cueman's 69 break in the penultimate frame on the way to a 16-15 victory. The Hurricane is almost as well known for his off-the-table bust-ups and his many run-ins with snooker officialdom over the years. But despite his difficulties, he remains one of the most gifted players ever to pick up a cue, with Ronnie O'Sullivan the only current star worthy of a mention in the same breath.
Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins
This close-up picture of Alex Higgins taken by Ulster photographer Cathal McNaughton
Alex Higgins
ALEX HIGGINS Until the robotic Stephen Hendry turned up as a 21-year-old world snooker champion in 1990, Alex "Hurricane" Higgins had been the youngest ever winner of the title, when he beat John Spencer in the best-of-73-frames 1972 final. It was Higgins' first appearance at the tournament and his flamboyant style and break-neck speed around the table earned him the "Hurricane" sobriquet. It is a nickname that could just as easily have applied to his life away from the beize, although the notoriously sedate snooker arena also witnessed its fair share of storms. At the 1986 UK championships, Higgins was fined and disqualified for head-butting a referee. Four years later, after a first round defeat at The Crucible, Higgins punched a tournament official before going on to announce his retirement from the game.
Alex Higgins in 1999 at his friend Ollie Reed's funeral in County Cork
Alex Higgins pictured at a bar in Belfast
Alex 'Hurrican' Higgins
Alex 'Hurrican' Higgins.
Alex Higgins pictured at a bar in Belfast where he spoke about his his autobiography "Alex Higgins 'My Story' from the eye of the Hurricane".
Alex Higgins. 16/3/81.
Alex "Hurricane" Higgins pictured 19th April 1980.259/80
Alex Higgins. 10/5/85.
Former World Champion snooker star Alex Higgins enjoys a day out at the races despite fighting off the effects of throat cancer.
Alex Higgins pictured in the mid 1980's
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Alex Higgins considering his next shot during the 1983 World Snooker Championships in Sheffield.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Oliver Reed and Alex Higgins. (December 1992)
Alex Higgins
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. (02/06/1993)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. A familiar sights for snooker fans... Irish professional champion Alex Higgins wiping his cue with a towel during last night's title match against Dennis Taylor in the Ulster Hall. Higgins won the first session 7-2 in the 41 frame decider which is being presented by the 'Belfast Telegraph' and Kearney Promotions. (03/02/1978)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Alex Higgins senior pictured with his son after Alex had regained the Smithwick's Irish Professional Snooker Championship in Maysfield Leisure Centre. Alex won the final against reigning champion Dennis Taylor by 16 frames to 11.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. World professional snooker champion Alex Higgins (right), who was in Belfast to-day for the wedding of his sister, Jean, of Abingdon Street to John Robson, Crumlin Road. The couple were married in St. Aidan's Parish Chursh, Blythe Street, Sandy Row, Belfast.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Four Ulster sportsmen were given Texaco Sportstars of the Year Awards (1982) at a banquet in Dublin last - John Watson, Barry McGuigan, Gerry Armstrong and Alex Higgins. Photographed at the ceremony were McGuigan, Northern Ireland team manager Billy Bingham, who collected the trophy on behalf of Armstrong and Higgins.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Alex Higgins, pictured with the championship trophy he intends to hold on to. (12/03/1983)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Snooker star Alex Higgins signs autographs for twins Brenda (left) and Geraldine Brammled at the press conference to announce the details of the Irish Professional Snooker Championship, which will be held in the Antrim Forum from February 9-12. (1988)
17-05-1982, World Snooker Champion, Alex Higgins is saluted by his baby daughter Lauren with his wife Lynne, after a nail-biting battle against six-times champion Ray Reardon at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.
13-04-1973, world professional snooker champion Alex Higgins shows off his new look, as created by Tom Gilbey.
Noel Cairns holds a shopping list given to him by former snooker champion Alex Higgins, near Ulidia House in south Belfast where Higgin's body was discovered.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Surrounded by beautiful girls, the lightning Alex. 'Hurricane' Higgins signs autographs for fans Jacqui McFerran, Marion Allen and Catherine McFerran. (15/04/80)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. World snooker champion Alexander 'Hurricane' Higgins in Belfast. (08/11/1976)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. (February 1978)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend.
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Alex Higgins. Snooker Legend. Exhibition match at Waterfront. (19/06/1997)
Former World Snooker Player Champion Alex "Hurricane" Higgins at his book signing in Easons 02.06.07.
Snooker legend Alex Higgins spotted Tallaght 2005.
Alex Higgins 4/3/82
Oliver Reid, Reg Presley & Alex Higgins
Snooker star Alex Higgins is taken to hospital with stab wounds after an incident involving a woman. 2008
25-7-2010Flowers for Alex Higgins are left at a muralon the Donegal Road to in honour of the snooker legend who died yesterday in Belfast.

Alex Higgins’ first-known love child says he won’t be going to his snooker legend dad’s funeral.





Blackburn man Chris Delahunty said it would be “inappropriate” for him to attend tooday’s service at St Anne’s Catheral in Belfast.

Higgins publicly accepted Chris as his secret son in 2003, when the pair met in England and played pool together.

But Chris, a builder, says all he ever got from his natural father since the reunion was “broken promises”.

He also revealed that 2003 was the last time he met him. Speaking from his home in Lancashire, the 35-year-old told us: “It’s inappropriate to go to the funeral as I didn’t have a full relationship with him.

“All I got was lots of broken promises.

“The broken promises mostly involved being taken to the odd tournament abroad and him not turning up.

“Last time I saw him was in Hull when he was playing at Riley’s Pool Hall for an exhibition match. And the last time we spoke was a few Christmases ago.”

But Chris also spoke of how he was not bitter towards Higgins — and wished they’d been closer.

“I’m sorry he’s gone. I wish I had got to know him better,” he added.

Chris, who is set to get married in November to his pregnant fiancee, also said he wished HIggins had lived to see his grandchild.

“Maybe being a grandad may have given him another reason to live. We’ll never know,” he said. “I wish he had held on though.”

Chris spoke out after Higgins’ family last week denied claims by Antrim man Martin Donnelly that he was a love child of the snooker ace.

But it has been widely documented and accepted that Chris was one of Higgins’ sons.

It has also been reported how Chris’ mum Joyce first met Higgins when he was a struggling young player touring Britain in 1971.

Chris revealed last night: “They met in Blackburn’s Romeo and Juliet’s club and on their first date they went to a cafe. He was so skint mum had to pay.”

Chris was born in 1975 but six months later Joyce and Higgins broke up. Snooker fan Chris was stunned in 2001 when his mum finally told him Higgins was his secret dad.

“When I was 26, mum told me my dad was Alex Higgins and that they had a relationship for a few years in the 1970s,” Chris said.

“It was a bolt from the blue. I was stunned and disbelieving and it took my step-dad Tom to convince me. I’ve never needed a DNA test as my mum and him were together and lived at my grandparents’ for a long while.”

Chris didn’t meet Higgins until 2003 when he happened to be in Hull for an exhibition game.

He said: “He admitted he was my father and asked what he should call me now.

“It was mainly small talk, but the things he told me about my mum made me realise he was actually my dad.

“We had two games of pool, which I lost, then he left to prepare for his game.

“We drove back to Hull and I watched him play. He is a great snooker player, but I wasn’t there to be impressed.”

Higgins, however, never initiated contact with Chris again.

Chris told the media in 2004: “He said he would call me, but he never has. He may be a great snooker player but he’s a cr*p father.”

Chris told us last night that Higgins would not even let him take a photo of them together when they met in 2003.

“I’ve got no piccies as he wouldn’t allow them,” he said.

Chris also revealed he had never met his 26-year-old half-brother Jordan or his 28-year-old half-sister Lauren — both born to Higgins’s second wife Lynn Avison.

And he said that the only thing he had inherited from Higgins was his love of drinking, smoking and gambling.

“I don’t have the snooker gene,” he said.

“He just passed on most of his vices.”

Meanwhile, former factory worker Martin Donnelly, 40, from Ballymena said last Friday how he was going to get a DNA test to prove Higgins was his true dad.

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