Belfast Telegraph

Keith Gillespie says farewell to father

Ex-Northern Ireland teammates David Healy and Keith Gillespie (on right) at the funeral of Keith’s father Harry
Ex-Northern Ireland teammates David Healy and Keith Gillespie (on right) at the funeral of Keith’s father Harry
Keith’s father Harry

By Staff Reporter

Former Northern Ireland and Manchester United footballer Keith Gillespie joined with family members in Bangor yesterday at the funeral of his father Harry.

Mr Gillespie died on Sunday after a long illness and his funeral service was held at Bangor Elim Church.

Writing about his father in his 2013 autobiography How Not To be A Football Millionaire, which he dedicated to his family, Keith said: "My dad Harry worked as a prison officer in the Maze during the height of the violence.

"A year before he got the job there were hunger strikes; a year after there was a prison break in which one of the other officers died.

"But he never took the stress from work home with him, it must be in our genes.

"Sitting down and revealing our deepest thoughts to our loved ones is the last thing the Gillespie men are likely to do.

"Instead, we just try and block it out and then move on to the next day.

"I think my dad wanted his kids to have as normal a childhood as possible and I appreciate why he did that."

James Harold Gillespie (Harry) was well-known across north Down and the service at Bangor Elim Church was followed by a family committal at Roselawn Crematorium.

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