Jim Nixon

by untangledwebl
1993,  1994,  1995,  1996

Reply to the Toast  “Guests & Artistes”  1983

Proposer of the Toast  “The Artistes”  1991

Proposer of the Toast  “The Lasses”  1993

Proposer of the Toast  “Let it Blaw – the Balerno Burns Club”  1997

Reply to the Toast  “The Lasses”  1989,  1999

Proposer of the Toast  “Our Hosts” or “The Landlord – Landlady”   1988,  2003,  2008

Served on the Club Committee
1993,  1994,  1995,  1996

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Jim became a member of ‘Let it Blaw’ in 1977.

William James (Jim) Nixon was born in Renfrew on 22nd March 1936, the oldest child of James and Maggie Nixon. So, despite his Irish accent, Jim really was a Scot! The family moved back to Londonderry in 1938 where, throughout his teenage years, Jim and his friends would roam the countryside listening to Dick Barton on the radio. 

Jim joined the Scouts and became Northern Ireland’s first ever “Queen’s Scout.” However, he was presented with a “King’s Scout” certificate as it was 1953 and the new ones featuring Queen Elizabeth hadn’t yet been printed. He famously earned his Scout swimming badge by jumping into the river Foyle and surviving!

It was a source of immense pride that his son Richard would later follow in his footsteps to become the first “Queen’s Scout” in Balerno and Jim’s granddaughter Kimberley continued the family tradition a few years later.

As a boy, Jim worked in a Furniture shop for extra money while at school which later led to him serving his apprentice as a French polisher. Jim was very proud of this skill and took French up again as a hobby before he retired.

He met Kathie at the Memorial Dance Hall in Londonderry when he was seventeen and three years later they tied the knot in 1956 in the Methodist church in that city. They had their honeymoon in Morecambe, Lancashire.

Whilst working in the Leeds Foundry, he was called for National Service in the Coldstream Guards. Such National Service normally lasted two years but Jim opted to serve for three years as it paid more. By this time, Kathie and Jim had  bought a house, had a baby and another on the way. He served for two years in Kenya and a further six months at Windsor Castle as a guardsman. 

On returning home, Jim enrolled at the Liverpool College of Commerce and thereafter worked for Lever Brothers as a Sales Representative. He rose to be an Area Sales Manager until retirement at the age of 56.

Jim and Kathie were blessed with three children, eleven Grandchildren and thirteen Great Grand Children. Jim was a wonderful father and grandfather. His own “Friendly Giant” stories were the best ever; it’s said that Roald Dahl wouldn’t have had a look in if Jim had published them first! 

When his son’s joined the Scout movement, Jim again became involved as a Scout leader rising to be Area Commissioner. He was the driving force behind the creation of the Scout Hall that still remains in the Village. He also volunteered with the Samaritans for eight years.

Jim and Kathie were long-time members of the Irish Curling Association and ran the “Stranraer Weekend” for many years. When the first Irish teams started competing on the international scene, Jim and Kathie were there with Kathie part of the women’s team at the European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2004.  Jim was the unofficial chef d’equipe of the lady’s squad.

Jim was an excellent player on the ice and loved to represent his country when the Four Nations came around. Irish Curling Association president, Eoin McCrossan, paid tribute to Jim saying: “Everyone in the ICA are deeply saddened to hear of Jim’s passing; 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.

Jim was a member of the “Let it Blaw” for 43 years. He was a Croupier and Committee Member and will long be remembered for hilarious stories about his native Northern Ireland and life in general. Many will remember Jim being asked on several occasions to stand at ‘Let it Blaw’ and just tell some stories; the difficulty was always getting him to sit down again. His story about his auntie being a “rear gunner on a milk float” during the war became legendary.

Jim was a friendly and very kind man with a ‘huge’ sense of humour. In his retirement, he kept himself busy in his garden, tending to his chickens and dogs.  He had been ill for some time but managed to attend ‘Let it Blaw’ until 2020.  Later that year, Jim resigned his membership due to worsening ill-health.

He was admitted to St John’s Hospital for a short time before passing away on Saturday 23rd October 2021.

The Club was well represented at Jim’s funeral service at Kirknewton Parish Church.

Alex J Hood