Heartfelt tributes to Ballyclare man John Thompson

John Thompson

John Thompson

Tributes have been paid to Ballyclare man, John Thompson, after police investigating his disappearance confirmed his body had been recovered following a search operation.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police can confirm that the body recovered from the River Bann yesterday, Monday, August 22, was that of 56-year-old John Thompson. Mr Thompson had been reported missing on Saturday, August 20.”

Taking to social media, Michael Turkington said: “I virtually grew up in the Thompson household and spent many hours playing cricket in their yard with Simon and John. He bowled like lightning and batted like a star! Wonderful memories RIP mate.”

Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Tommy Wright sent his sympathies to John’s family. He said: “Sorry to hear of sad news for Thompson family. I have great memories growing up with John. In particular playing cricket in his yard, at the High School and in The Windies cricket team. Thoughts and prayers with all the family at this very sad time xx.”

Commenting on Facebook, Annmarie Neill said: “Such sad news. John brought many a smile to residents in Hamilton’s. Many a joke we shared. Rest in peace John. God bless x.”

Paying tribute to Mr Thompson, James Kirk said: “Very sad news. I spent most of my early teenage years with all the Thompson family along with the Turk playing about every sport imaginable in their back yard and up at the high school playing fields. RIP John and sympathies to all the brothers and sisters.”

Alan Moore said: “Very sorry to hear about John. I played with him when he was a boy in Ballyclare Victoria. He was a very talented player and is still remembered fondly by the older members. Devastating news for his family.”

Paying tribute to John, Raymond Moore said: “This news is so sad. Jonny was well known and liked by many in the Moneymore and Cookstown areas through his association with local community groups. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time!”

A poignant tribute was paid by Ballyclare Victoria Flute Band on Facebook. It read: “The officers and members of Ballyclare Victoria deeply regret the tragic passing away of their highly esteemed former member John and extend their sympathy to the family circle at this time.”

Speaking to the Times, Cllr David Arthurs reflected on the sense of shock in the Ballyclare community. The UUP representative said: “Jonny was a real character who was known for his quick wit and sense of humour. He was a fun-loving guy who would never have a bad word to say about anybody. His death comes as a great shock to many people and to myself, as it’s only a matter of weeks ago I bumped into him whilst waiting on a train in Coleraine. He was an entertainer and musician and played to many an audience and on hearing of his passing my thoughts and prayers are with his daughter Megan, son Mark, brother Simon and the wider Thompson Family Circle. He will be missed by all who knew him. Rest Easy JT.”