Funeral for George Elliott – youth football coach brother of top UUP man

George Elliott had suffered cancer for five-and-a-half years
George Elliott had suffered cancer for five-and-a-half years

The funeral for a youth football coach – who helped train a future Northern Ireland goalkeeper, among others – is to be held on Thursday in Co Fermanagh.

George Elliott, brother of former UUP MP Tom Elliott, died on New Year’s Day at home in the Ballinamallard area, aged 63.

The retired Roads Service mechanic and father of two had been suffering from cancer for five-and-a-half years.

It was in his kidney and spine, and he had known from the outset it was terminal.

He had played football for local teams such as Kesh and Fivemiletown, but had suffered an injury aged only 23 and so in the 1980s turned his attention away from playing and towards coaching.

Tom Elliott told the News Letter he had focused mainly on the junior end of coaching and was “well-respected within that world”.

He worked with local squads in the Fermanagh area but also had a stint in training players for Irish Premiership side Glenavon in the mid-2000s.

“He was very dedicated to football,” said Mr Elliott.

“It was lovely – I got a message from Michael McGovern today there, the Northern Ireland goalkeeper. He’d coached him and he was just passing on his condolences.”

Of his terminal illness, Mr Elliott said: “He was a fella who just took everything as it came.

“I remember his wife said to him: ‘Why you, George?’

“His response was: ‘Well if it wasn’t me then it would be someone else’.”

George Elliott is survived by wife Gloria and children Gareth and Paul.

His funeral is to be at Magheracross Parish Church, Ballinamallard, at 1pm, followed by burial in Craghan Cemetery.