Jim Nixon – a tribute

Terribly sad news at the weekend that Jim Nixon had died and our sympathies are extended to his widow Kathie and their family.

Jim Nixon at a Stranraer Weekend

Jim and Kathie were long-time member of the Irish Curling Association and ran the Stranraer Weekend for many years.

Jim was tremendous company and your day was brightened when you spent time with him. He was a man who had time for everybody and always had a wee anecdote to tell you, in his Northern Ireland brogue, which never failed to make you laugh.

When the first of the Irish teams headed out into the big world of international curling, Jim was there. Kathie was part of the women’s team at the Europeans in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2004 and Jim had a ball as the unofficial ‘chef d’equipe’ of the ladies squad, making new friends and cementing old ones every day. He was in the thick of the action when it was party time and his tall tale about his auntie being a “rear gunner on a milk float” during the war has gone down in ICA folklore. When he added in his ‘Father Jack’ impersonation his legendary status was assured.

Kathie & Jim Nixon

On the ice Jim was an excellent player and loved to play for his country when the Four Nations rolled around. He supported all the ICA competitions throughout the curling season and his and Kathie’s warm and welcoming personalities attracted many players to the Stranraer Weekend.

Living in Edinburgh, they did most of their curling at Gogar before it closed down and they were transferred to Murrayfield but they missed Gogar sorely and the camaraderie they had found there.

In his latter years Jim suffered from dementia and this was a difficult time for him and for Kathie. They remained in members thoughts often and Kathie received tremendous support from a stalwart handful of fellow ICA members during the time she was caring for Jim.

Kathie was devoted to Jim as he was to her and she dedicated all her time to looking after him until his recent passing.

ICA President Eoin McCrossan paid this tribute to Jim: “Everyone in the ICA are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Nixon, a true titan of the organisation who along with his wife Kathie contributed so much for so many years in running the annual ICA Stranraer Weekend. The loss of Jim is felt by many across the association and he will be remembered fondly and Kathie has our deepest condolences at this difficult time.”

We will never forget Jim Nixon – as fine a human being as your could ever come across if you searched the length and breadth of the land.

Here’s raising a glass to you Gentleman Jim from us all, and may you rest in peace.

ICA Opening Bonspiel and Training Day

Thirty ICA members gathered last week at Greenacres to start the season in earnest. To help get members back into the swing of things this was a bumper event with a morning training day preceding an afternoon bonspiel.

The training morning was generously supported by the WCF Development Assistance Program to help the ICA to hit the ground running in their post-pandemic recovery. This was incredibly gratefully received by members of all abilities. “It was such a wonderful opportunity to practice rather than to be thrown into a game” explained member Clare McCormick. Eleanor Burns agreed: “I was just so happy to have the chance to practice after so long, it was really important to get my confidence back”. After getting to grips with the ice, members worked on a number of skills; honing their setups and deliveries concentrating on consistent rotation and weight control. For some members though, the aim of the session was a lot simpler: “I’ve only fallen once – so that’s a success” Steve Callen wryly noted.

With the sea legs re-established; 8 teams took to the ice in the afternoon with some incredible shot-making accompanying some close (and not so close) games. The final scores were:

    Neil Fyfe 10 – 4 John Wilson

    Alison Fyfe 10 – 6 Jen Ward

    JJ Kenny 3 – 12 Andrew Gilmore

    James Russell 9 – 5 David Whyte

That meant that the winning team were Andrew Gilmore, Dave Hibberd, Isla Kinnear and Ari Furey. President Eoin presented the prizes, thanking everyone at Greenacres for keeping everyone safe, fed and entertained and expressed a huge debt of gratitude for the number of members supporting the event. In particular, he welcomed Brian Mathews all the way from Dublin and new member Megan Priestley.

We’re off and away – stay tuned for the rest of season 2021-22!