CHRIST Church was packed on Saturday for the service of a well-known and respected Lisburn sportsman, Frankie McCaugherty, who died the previous Thursday.
It was as a footballer which Frankie was most respected, playing for many years as an old-fashioned centre-half for local Amateur League side, Hilden Rec.
It was during this period he made his mark in the game, being considered one of the best defenders in junior football in Northern Ireland.
Frankie started his footballing career with Christ Church in the Lisburn League, playing for Carrick Rangers, among others, before finishing his playing days with Wesley, who at that time were also a Lisburn League side.
After hanging up his boots Frankie took up the whistle instead, to become one of the most respected referees in the Lisburn League and in 2001 he was presented with a cut glass bowl by the League in recognition of his services.
He gave up senior refereeing around four years ago, but continued to officiate in local youth games until recently.
He was also a popular indoor and outdoor bowler, playing the former at his own church club, Christ Church, where he was club captain last season and played his last game in a JC Patterson Cup tie in October last year.
He moved outside with Hilden in the summer, enjoying his bowls to the full.
Lisburn Youth League chairman, Tommy Whiteside, paid a warm and sincere tribute to Frankie, who he regarded as a fine footballer and also as one of his most reliable referees in both senior and youth circles.
I am sure everyone will agree with my own experiences of Frankie, who was a fierce competitor in the sports lie played, but a quiet, unassuming person who was respected by all he met.
A man of deep Christian beliefs, Frankie was both People's and Rector's Church Warden in Christ Church, where he was also a Sunday School teacher, Bible class leader, Freewill offering collator and car park attendant, among other things.
Rev Paul Dundas, speaking at the service, said Frankie was converted in 1965 and had been married for 46 years.
The condolences of all the sporting fraternity and everyone who knew him go out to his wife Ann, son Stephen, and all members of a wide family circle.