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Let's take this cue to support sporting talent

It has been wonderful to read the many touching tributes to Alex Higgins in the Belfast Telegraph.

His fellow professionals, your newspaper's commentators and the general public have made very clear the esteem in which this often difficult, always compelling individual is held.

Indeed, it is heartening to see that his funeral is to be held in St Anne's Cathedral, the nearest equivalent we have to Westminster Abbey, in the sense that both popular and civic mourning can be given a suitable forum for expression.

The question is, though: is that it? There has been a lot of discussion over recent years about the legacy of our great personalities. The issue of a proper memorial for George Best was never resolved - the re-naming of Belfast City Airport was touching, but hasn't really been as effective as most people would wish.

Might I suggest that the death of Alex Higgins should prompt us to look at the question of legacy more clearly and more quickly than in the past.

In short, the Hurricane's memory calls for an appropriate recognition. Rather than investing in bricks and mortar or bronze, we should invest in our young people - especially those of sporting talent and in most need of support in their formative years.

I suggest the establishment of a fund for teenagers gifted in sporting prowess - not limited to snooker.

The Hurricane Fund - significantly financed - would stand as a symbol of our society's belief in young people.

MAXIMUM BREAK

Belfast

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