Emotional tributes have been paid to the former head of PE at Ballyclare High School, Thomas (Tommy) Young.
Mr Young passed away peacefully at Antrim Area Hospital yesterday (Tuesday) after a long illness borne with great courage. He was late of Drains Bay, Larne.
Tommy was the dearly loved and loving husband of Sandra and devoted father of Stephen.
Paying tribute to their former colleague, a spokesperson for Ballyclare High said: “The school community extends our deepest sympathies to Sandra and Stephen and the wider family circle on the passing of our esteemed colleague Tommy Young.
“His influence in Ballyclare High spans over many decades as a sportsman, a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a positive influence and a friend; his legacy is ever present.
“Tommy gave so much and pupils and staff alike benefited from his wisdom, his energy and his gentlemanly ways. His example influenced so many. Thoughts and prayers from us all.”
Independent councillor Michael Stewart branded Tommy “one of life’s true gentlemen.”
The former Ballyclare High School pupil said: “Anyone who had the privilege of knowing Tommy Young could not help but be inspired by his boundless energy, infectious enthusiasm and genuine kindness.
“Tommy lived life with a smile and always had time for anyone who needed his advice or support. The positive influence he had on the lives of so many young people will be the most fitting and lasting legacy left by one of life’s true gentlemen.”
Poignant tributes have been made on social media.
Commenting on Facebook, an east Antrim resident said: “Sad news tonight regarding the passing of one of Larne’s finest, Tommy Young.
“A rugby man through and through, Tommy had spells at Kings Scholars, Civil Service and then Ballymena before ending his playing career at Larne. Definitely one of life’s gentlemen, now gone too soon.”
A former Ballyclare High student added: “He was a lovely gentleman and a great coach, sad news.”
A Ballyclare resident said: “Sad news indeed. One of the best teachers at the school and a gentleman.”
A post on the Funeral Times site said: “House strictly private. Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu, if desired, to Laurel House, Antrim Area Hospital c/o and cheques made payable to Fleming & Cuthbert Funeral Directors 141 Mill Road, Ballyclare.”
Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.