Eric wins a lifetime achievement award

Eric Cunningham received the Carson Clarke Memorial Award.
Eric Cunningham received the Carson Clarke Memorial Award.

South Antrim Hockey Club’s Eric Cunningham, 80, recently received the Carson Clarke Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Men’s Hockey in Ulster at the Ulster Hockey’s Awards Dinner.

Eric has been a prominent figure in Ulster Hockey for decades; initially serving on the Disciplinary Committee for many years he was then honoured to be elected to the position of President of the Men’s Ulster Branch in the 2001-2002 season.

Since then he has served as Honorary Treasurer up until last month, when he eventually said, ‘not this time’ to those continually calling for one more year.

Eric will have been witnessed at many Finals Days, often singlehandedly manning the entrance gate through all weather conditions.

This is a rest that is duly deserved for a man whose service to Ulster Hockey has spanned across four decades, however, he was just elected on to the Finance Committee at the recent Ulster Hockey AGM, so he’s not done yet.

Outside of Ulster Hockey, Eric continues to be heavily involved with local hockey club, South Antrim, where he has been a legendary figure for many years.

After joining the Club in 1972 when his former club, Beechlawn, merged with South, Eric spent four years as Chairman before taking up the role of Treasurer in 1980, a role which he still holds today.

In addition to his work on the Club committee over the years, Eric is still a regular blower of the whistle on Saturday afternoons umpiring for South. 
He played well into his 70s and has aspirations to turnout for a match now he has turned 80.

It says a lot about Eric’s passion for hockey, his dedication to his roles and the sheer effort he puts in, to hold a position in two different organisations at the same time for so many years.

Those at South Antrim cannot think of another person as worthy of this award as the ever-dependable Eric Cunningham - congratulations.

It is with deep sadness that the Club also reports on the recent passing of Ronnie Campbell, another man worthy of recognition within the entire local hockey community and further afield.

Ronnie was Club Patron, and previously held the posts of Club Captain, Chairman and President of South Antrim Hockey Club; the latter Office totalled a remarkable period of 25 years.

The Club will be forever indebted to the contribution Ronnie made during his lifetime.

Just prior to his passing, representatives from the Club visited Ronnie with the Senior 1 trophy.

This was an emotional visit which summed up how much the Club meant to him.

South Antrim Hockey Club would like to pass on their condolences to Ronnie’s family at this time.