Tributes have been paid to Richard Herbert (Bertie) Elliott who was described by his daughter as being “the centre of our family”.

Bertie, 86, passed away last week at South West Acute Hospital with a large attendance paying their respects at his funeral at St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.

His daughter, Claire, described her father as a man who had many loves in his life but for whom family was always his first.

“He was a family man and the centre of our family and he will be missed very much,” she explained.

Bertie was born in Ballinmallard, the fifth of eight children to Andrew and Grace Elliott, in 1933. He attended Ballinamallard Methodist school before working in Crozier’s grocery store in the village.

Bertie moved to Enniskillen where he met “the love of his life”, Joan, who he married in 1958. He worked in Jordan’s Grocery before becoming a van driver for Inglis Bread Company and latterly a boiler man at Enniskillen Technical College.

He and his wife celebrated 61 years of marriage last month and he was a proud father to Keith and Claire. Bertie was a grandfather to four and also great grandfather to four and he loved nothing more than having his family around him.

Bertie had many interests according to his daughter, including Ballinamallard United where he was an honorary member and he has been a permanent fixture at Ferney Park over the years.

The club, who offered their sincere sympathy to Bertie’s family, paid tribute to their life long supporter:

“Bertie was a former Club Committee member, some years ago he was given a lifetime membership of Ballinamallard United FC by the Club in recognition of his long service.

“We are certain that Ballinamallard United and Ferney Park were very much part of Bertie’s life, today the Club has lost a great friend, supporter and stalwart,” the clubs said, adding:

“There was a sense of disbelief but delight from Bertie when the Club won the Championship in 2012 and entered the Irish Premiership League, he was quick to admit that he never thought he would witness the team playing in the Irish Premiership.”

Indeed, Ballinamallard manager Harry McConkey spoke about Bertie after his side defeated Newry City at the weekend:

“The players, staff and myself just hope we gave a little lift to the family in their time of great loss.

“They, better than anyone, will know Bertie would have approved of that performance and loved those three points.”

It wasn’t just football that brought out the competitive spirit of Bertie. He was also a keen bowler and delighted in passing on his passion for the game.

“He would have travelled all over teaching bowls,” Claire explained:

“He loved teaching people about the game and passing on his knowledge. It was something he was very passionate about.”

Alongside family, Bertie’s Christian faith was a central tenant in his life, and something he strongly held on to in the past few months as he battled illness.

“He had a great sense of humour, and a great Christian belief that very much helped him,” his daughter Claire explained.

Bertie was a gifted singer and enjoying singing in church and was also a member of the masonic.

Bertie’s funeral arrangements were by WT. Morrison.