| 7.6°C Belfast

Noel Bibb (68) is a huge loss to football in Mid-Ulster

 

The football community in Mid-Ulster has lost a "real gentleman of the local game" after the passing of one of the league's stalwarts.

Noel Bibb (68) from Waringstown, Co Down passed away at the Southern Area Hospice in Newry on Thursday after a battle against motor neurone disease.

He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Jennifer, daughters Jacquel ine and Elizabeth, and the wider family circle.

Mr Bibb was involved with Waringstown FC and Goodyear Sports and Social Club during his many years in the game.

The defender played for his beloved Waringstown well into his 50s and was responsible for the entire operation of the club - carrying out everything from committee work to managerial duties.

Mr Bibb was also club treasurer, committee member and patron of the Goodyear club for over 35 years, spearheading a number of cross-community projects.

Stevie Moore from Goodyear, whose late father Tony worked alongside Mr Bibb at the club, said: "He was such a good guy and he kept the sports and social club going for so many years.

"He drove the sports side of the club. Five-a-side was one thing but there was American football and in the early 1990s there was the Norman Whiteside School of Soccer.

"Noel was a big Manchester United fan and used to bring Norman Whiteside and Viv Anderson. He worked with the Manchester United Supporters' Club and they held their summer soccer schools at the pitch beside the club.

"His enthusiasm for football was infectious and he was a man of great faith."

Norman Livingston from the Mid-Ulster Football Association added that Mr Bibb will be fondly remembered by everyone.

"Noel had a great enthusiasm for the game and was outstanding over the years," he said.

A spokesperson for the Mid-Ulster Football League stated that Mr Bibb was a "gentleman of the local game" and sent their deepest condolences to his family.

Mr Bibb's funeral will take place tomorrow at 2.30pm. Those wishing to pay respects can do so along the route between Waringstown and Lurgan.

Donations in lieu, if desired, can be made to Motor Neurone Disease NI and Newry Hospice via Ronnie Russell Funeral Director, Waringstown.

Belfast Telegraph