BALLYMENA United paid tribute to one of its longest-serving officials at Saturday’s final corporate dinner of the season.
Chairman Robert Cupples presented a memento to Don Stirling, marking his 30 years as the club’s football secretary.
Master of ceremonies Edwin McLaughlin joked: “During that time, Don has signed more players than Harry Redknapp!”
“He has been a wonderful servant to the club, he has worked tirelessly for the club and he always has the god of Ballymena United at heart.
“He is part of the fabric of this club and it would not be the same without him,” added Edwin.
Guests, who included former Ballymena star Norman Clarke and former world boxing champion Eamonn Loughran, also heard a presentation from Noel McMullan, representing the Ballymena branch of the Samaritans, the club’s designated charity for this year.
Referring to both Ballymena and Cleraine players wearing Samaritans bibs during their pre-match warm-up, Noel said: “They are reaching more people in one afternoon than I would reach in 10 school visits.
“The Samaritans in Mount Street would not be there if it was not for clubs like Ballymena United – the support they give us is second to none,” added Noel.
Saturday’s dinner – which was sponsored by Northstone Ltd, was attended by just short of 300 people – a record turnout since the functions began a number of years ago.
The following individuals and organisations were thanked for their attendance: Northstone; McIlrath Solicitors; Alan Francey Minibus Hire; Ballymena Spurs SC; Ballymena United Youth Academy; BRS Cars; Cloughmills NISC; Dave Harris & friends; Dennison Commercials; Diamond Bar; GM Landscapes; Hazlett Brothers; Ian Mckeown & friends; John Graham/Straid Nurseries; Michelin Athletic Club; McKendry Fabrications; Nampak; North Antrim DUP; Paradise BUSC; Paramount BUSC; RGM Financial Services; Robert Frew Vivo; Robinson Cleaning Services; Rosspark Motors; Seven Towers SC; Stardust Musements; Systems Control; TBF Thompson/DAF Trucks; Telstar; The Young Guns; Wakehurst Old Boys; William Hamill & Sons; Wilson McCurdy Haulage.