The cycling community throughout Ulster was shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden death of Belfast’s Jimmy Watson on Monday evening. Jimmy had a lifelong passion for the sport and began racing in the late 1950’s with St. Gabriel’s CC. His love and enthusiasm for all things cycling was passed on to his five sons Jim, Paul (Toby), Colm, Christopher and Lawrence. The family were instrumental in the formation of V.C. Glendale  which has done so much to promote cycling in the city of Belfast.

One tribute from Phoenix CC reads. “Jimmy started cycling in the mid 50’s and joined St. Gabriel’s CC which was mainly based in Ardoyne. He started racing around 1956/57 and enjoyed taking part in many races including the tough Route de Chill Mhantain. This was the forerunner to the now famous Shay Elliot Memorial race. He raced along with Tommy McKee and Eamon Burns. Jimmy went on to break the hour for a 25 mile TT in 1958 and set up a new club record. He also enjoyed youth hostelling in the winter and spent many weekends in the Mourne mountains.

When St. Gabriel’s changed the name to Phoenix CC, Jimmy competed in many races in the new kit and did extremely well. When Glendale was formed in 1981 he decided to join along with his family members but remained a close friend and supporter of Phoenix CC.

Jimmy will also be remembered for his razor sharp wit and sense of humour and his death is a huge loss to cycling in this country. He will be missed

Jimmy will be laid to rest on Friday at 11am from the family home 2 Ladybrook Drive. Due to the current situation friends are invited to gather in the street for a small service and adhere to social distancing etiquette. The family home will be open from Wednesday with a restriction of two mourners at a time for those wishing to pay their respects.