A WIDELY respected retired businessman from Enniskillen who ran a clothes shop in the town for over 40 years has died.

David Hamilton Clarke, late of Lawnakilla Park, Enniskillen, passed away peacefully at South West Acute Hospital on New Year’s Day.

From 1967 until his retirement in 2011, he managed the family business, D.F. Clarke Ltd, which was based at Church Street before later relocating to East Bridge Street.

His funeral service was held in Rossorry Parish Church yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, followed by interment in the adjoining church graveyard.

In his school days, Mr. Clarke attended Gloucester House before moving on to Portora as a boarder. He played rugby and represented the school at senior level.

After leaving Portora in 1963, he worked in the clothing trade in London and travelled as a company rep throughout the Home Counties and the south east of England.

Mr. Clarke returned home in 1967 to take over the family business, which incorporated the Tweed Shop, also in Church Street.

During the 1970s, he oversaw the company’s relocation to East Bridge Street and the construction of the new store.

After retiring in 2011, Mr. Clarke and his wife Diane set up the Wool Cabin, which is still trading.

The Enniskillen man brought together his passion for drapery and his lifelong interest in horse racing by travelling throughout Ireland with his mobile shop unit, selling a wide range of clothing, including waterproofs, Stetson hats and caps.

Mr. Clarke was well-known and respected among the Irish racing fraternity and also owned several horses throughout his life.

The most famous of these animals was Scallybuck, the winner of the Elan Midlands National Handicap Chase in 2000.

Among his other interests, Mr. Clarke was a member of Enniskillen Round Table and served as chairman of the 41 Club on a number of occasions. He also helped to organise the annual Boxing Day dinner dance.

First and foremost a family man, he had a great love of Donegal and every holiday was spent in the family holiday home in Burtonport.

Mr. Clarke is survived by his widow Diane, sister Ethne, son Connor, daughter-in-law Suzanna, and wider family circle.