Billy Bingham MBE – a Service of Thanksgiving

Wednesday June 7th 2023

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Billy Bingham MBE was held in Belfast Cathedral.

The life and footballing career of the late Billy Bingham MBE was remembered in a Service of Thanksgiving held in Belfast Cathedral on Wednesday June 7.

Billy famously managed Northern Ireland at two World Cup final tournaments in the 1980s and was also an outstanding player for his country.

The memorial service was organised by the Irish Football Association (IFA) and led by the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde.  Music was provided by the Cathedral’s Master of Music, Jack Wilson; Belfast Community Gospel Choir; and pianist Ian Hannah.

In his words of welcome, Dean Forde paid tribute to Billy’s ‘skill and determination’ and reflected on those World Cup campaigns in 1982 and 1986. “They lifted the spirit of the Northern Ireland community during some of the darkest days of the Troubles,” he said.

Philip Mitchell, Pastoral Director for Sports Chaplaincy in Ireland, welcomed Billy’s son David, who later gave a Eulogy on the theme ‘Winning Spirit’ in honour of his father. Billy’s grandsons Joseph, Peter and Patrick were also present, with Patrick reading Psalm 121.

Gerry Armstrong, who wrote his name into the history books by scoring the winning goal in Northern Ireland’s iconic victory against hosts Spain in 1982, read from 1 Corinthians 9, verse 24. 

Martin O’Neill, who captained Northern Ireland in 1982, paid a personal tribute to Billy, and IFA chaplain Pastor Mark Patterson gave the address.

Belfast Community Gospel Choir sang at the service.

The Belfast Community Gospel Choir filled the Cathedral with song in their energetic performances of Amazing Grace, Bridge Over Troubled Water and How Great Thou Art.

At the invitation of the Irish FA and the Bingham family, fans of the former manager, who died last year at the age of 90, joined them in the Cathedral to remember Billy’s life and career.

Dean Stephen Forde closed the service with the Benediction.

The service was livestreamed on the IFA’s YouTube channel and can be watched HERE.

Billy Bingham – an appreciation


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