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Family's tribute as Barney Eastwood dies at age 87

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Barney Eastwood with his wife Frances

Barney Eastwood with his wife Frances

Barney Eastwood with his wife Frances

Former boxing promoter and bookmaker Barney Eastwood has been remembered for his "remarkable charm" following his death at the age of 87.

Eastwood, who lived in Holywood, Co Down, died on Monday at the Ulster Hospital after a period of illness.

Known to friends and family as "BJ", Eastwood made his name as a bookie, building up a large chain of shops across Northern Ireland.

In 2008 he sold all 54 to rival Ladbrokes in a deal worth £135m.

Despite his success in bookmaking, Eastwood was best known for his work as a boxing promoter and manager, particularly his association with world champion fighter Barry McGuigan.

After years of success together, Eastwood's relationship with the 'Clones Cyclone' ultimately soured, culminating in an acrimonious legal dispute.

A spokesman for the family confirmed Eastwood's death and said: "BJ's passing has brought great sadness to the family as well as the whole community in Holywood, where he was a very visible resident for the past 50 years.

"All who knew him will miss his remarkable charm."

The family has appealed for privacy.

Eastwood is survived by wife Frances, sons Brian, Peter, Adrian, Stephen and Fearghal, daughter Fiona, 23 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, and his sister Margaret.

He was predeceased by his son Fintan, his brothers Thomas, Joseph, John and William, and his sisters Gertrude, Johanna and Elizabeth.

His family said the Eastwood home will remain private ahead of the funeral later in the week at St Colmcille's Parish Church in Holywood.

Belfast Telegraph