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Stephen Craigan: Mr Palmer a gent who went extra mile for football-mad pupils

Jim Palmer
Jim Palmer
Stephen Craigan

By Stephen Craigan

I was devastated to hear the news earlier this week of the passing of Jim Palmer, a man well known and respected in the journalism and education worlds but one I simply knew as Mr Palmer.

Jim was my P7 teacher at Comber Primary School and a special one at that. He went above and beyond for so many boys like me who just wanted to play football. For a lot of us, school football was our first experience of being part of a team and as pupils we aspired to pull on the school jersey. We regularly toured the Ards Peninsula representing Comber Primary and were avidly led by Jim.

He gladly gave up his time so we could play the game we loved, even though it has to be said his refereeing skills came under scrutiny at times!

Anytime we met in later years he always greeted me with a warm handshake and a barrage of questions about how I was getting on with the common theme always being football. I don't know who was more in their element, me or him.

We all have our own memories of a man who influenced the lives of so many. The fact that no one has a bad word to say about him tells you all you need to know about the type of man he was… one of a kind and an unsung hero.

My sympathies to wife Elizabeth and daughters Gillian and Ruth. The funeral is at 10.30am this morning at Ballyblack Presbyterian Church in Newtownards.

Rest in peace, Mr Palmer.

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