Belfast Telegraph

Humility of great Dr Jack Kyle is lesson to us all

By Steven Beacom

Jack Kyle was early for our appointment. Can't imagine the great man was ever late. Be it on or off the rugby pitch, he had perfect timing.

As I arrived, Jack was sitting patiently beside his daughter Justine inside the Queen's Sports facility in Belfast.

He was there to help launch the 2014 Belfast Telegraph Sports Awards. Jack, the first inductee into our sporting Hall of Fame, didn't have to do it but he was happy to oblige in that selfless way of his.

Before pictures were taken we enjoyed a pleasant chat about him being on the shortlist for our reader poll to determine Northern Ireland's greatest sports star ever.

True to form, he was more interested in the other names listed than his own!

No ego. No 'look at me' attitude.

We could all learn much from his ideals. Some of today's sporting stars could certainly do with even a thimbleful of Jack's humility. Or those so called celebrities who fall over each other to post their latest ridiculous selfie on social media.

Less can most definitely be more.

Since his sad passing last week at the age of 88, it's been heartwarming to read the numerous sincere tributes to this rugby genius and accomplished surgeon.

I can't say I knew Dr Kyle well, but I do know that every time I was fortunate enough to be in his company that it felt special.

Not just because he was a sporting icon, who I had been in awe of since I was kid when my dear old, sadly departed, PE teacher Mr Bruce used to wax lyrical on the school playing fields about the greatness of 'the one and the only Jackie Kyle'. And not just because here was an admirable man who had saved the lives of so many during his sterling work in the medical profession over three decades in Zambia.

No, mostly it was down to the fact that Jack Kyle was a genuinely good man who could make anyone feel better having spent any time with him.

Perhaps that was his greatest gift of all.

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