Tributes poured in last night and again this morning for Billy Given, a former player with Sion Mills and a keen local photographer, who collapsed and died after yesterday’s Faughan Valley Cup final.
Billy came over to talk to me at the All-Ireland T20 final at Bready yesterday, looking on with envy at professional Oliver McVeigh’s camera and equipment.
“My camera is small but it has a good zoom,” was his comment and anyone who has seen his pictures from cricket matches in the North West down the years could see he made the best of his ‘amateur’ equipment.
(Billy Given (on right) with his good friend Arthur Ming who were familiar figures around the grounds of the NW)
He was taking pictures yesterday for this website and told me that “Barry has asked me to go on to Newbuildings after this one”.
As usual he was looking forward to another cricket match. Tragically, it was to be his last.
On the Donemana facebook page this morning it said: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of our friend Billy Given.
Billy was a regular visitor to the Holm for many decades and we thoroughly enjoyed his company and a I think all will agree his photography work was second to none. It is very hard to imagine next season without you being there .... a true legend of NW cricket. May your gentle soul rest in peace.”
Brigade Cricket Club also tweeted last night: “He was a genuine cricket lover and will be missed by all at Brigade CC. Sincere condolences to his family at this sad time.”
A tragic end to a North West season like no other.