The Ulster Rugby team dedicated Saturday’s win over Cardiff Blues to their biggest fan, Dromore man Jamie Donaldson.
Jamie, who was a regular at matches for many years, passed away in hospital in Belfast on Friday, December 2.
Despite being a wheelchair user and battling a number of health problems, Jamie travelled to games at home and abroad. He was a favourite with the Ulster players and officials at pre and post-match events.
The Ulster Rugby Supporters Page described Jamie as “Ulster’s No. 1 supporter” and shared a tweet from coach Les Kiss, which said: “The team dedicate our win tonight to you Jamie - you will always be an inspiration - RIP mate.”
Ulster’s South African fly-half Ruan Pienaar described the news of the 26-year-old’s death as “a massive shock”, while winger Craig Gilroy tweeted: “Saddened to hear of the passing of Jamie Donaldson, he was a fantastic supporter of Ulster rugby, an inspiration to many... RIP Jamie.” A statement on the official Ulster Rugby Supporters Club page said: “It was with great sadness that URSC learnt of the passing on Friday 2 December of one of its most respected and recognisable members, Jamie Donaldson.
“Jamie was a regular at the URSC information point pre-match, a frequent front row attendee at our Meet the Player events. However it was watching Ulster play that Jamie loved more than anything else – he was a frequent traveller – wherever Ulster played, Jamie, Dad John and Mum Pearl could be seen.
“Of course it was post-match that Jamie’s love of Ulster and the Ulster players’ love of Jamie was played out in public. Whilst others waited on tenterhooks for a possible glimpse of their heroes, an autograph or a selfie, the players invariably made a bee line to Jamie for a personal chat – indeed he was something of a hero to them. They were frequently rewarded with Jamie’s famous distribution of post match Mars bars! They will miss him, we will miss him.
“To Pearl and John whose love for, and dedication to Jamie, knew no bounds, we pass on our sincerest sympathy and prayers. Jamie Donaldson RIP.”
Jamie’s funeral took place from the Donaldson’s Tonaghmore Road home on Sunday, December 4. He was laid to rest in the churchyard at Donacloney Presbyterian Church.