Ireland: Tribute To A True Gentleman x4|
March 4, 2005
News Letter, Ireland
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The world of hockey is in mourning following the passing of Alvin Carson, aged 59, after a long but bravely borne illness.
Alvin was buried in Belmont Cemetery in Antrim on Monday afternoon in one of the largest funerals seen in the town in many years, testament to the popularity of, and respect for, a legend in the game.
Alvin was a character, a bit of a rebel at times, but nonconformist just for the devilment.
His early education in Massereene Primary and Ballymena Tech stood him in good stead but it was the university of life that made him one of the most articulate people you could wish to meet, capable of conversing on a wide range of subjects, a quality that endeared him to so many.
Hockey played a dominant part in his life, initially with his beloved Antrim and then Belfast YMCA.
He played many times for Ulster before winning his first Irish cap against West Germany in 1970. He played 90 times for Ireland all told and 10 for Great Britain, and was a member of the GB team in 1976 that waited in London airport for the call to replace Kenya in the Montreal Olympics. That call didn't come but it was one of very few disappointments in an other-wise glittering career.
However, when Alvin hung up his stick and put his goalkeeping pads in the attic, he took up and quickly excelled at umpiring. He umpired 19 international matches reaching FIH status and was highly regarded wherever he went.
During his illness, Alvin retained his sharp sense of humour, always tried to be upbeat and philosophical and in the end, despite tremendous suffering, never complained.
He was a fitness fanatic and often could have been seen pounding the streets of Antrim and the pathways along the Loughshore and the Sixmilewater.
Above all, Alvin Carson was a family man, taking care of his widowed mother Jane for many years which involved numerous trips in the camper van which was synonymous with Alvin.
Brother Crawford and sister-in-law Vina gave him so much love and attention that Alvin, at times, felt overwhelmed. His nephew and niece Glen and Samantha were the apple of his eye from the day they were born and he was so proud they had turned out to be such fine adults upholding the family tradition.
After the committal, Alvin's family, friends and colleagues went back to Muckamore Cricket Club for refreshments so diligently organised by his workmates from Muckamore Abbey and many stories were shared with affection.
My lasting memory, amongst many, of Alvin took place about three weeks before his passing. He remarked there was an awful thudding noise coming from the infamous camper van and he felt it was dying, too. Despite not being mechanically minded, we both inspected the van to MOT proportions by our standards, only to find some two- and- a- half hours later the problem was a hockey ball rolling about in the sink.
We will miss you, Alvin, I will miss you, goodbye to you my trusted friend.
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