GLENAVON: Poignant balloon launch marks first anniversary of Millar family tragedy
Against the backdrop of last weekend's tireless work by Glenavon to secure play in the Irish Cup came a more personal and poignant reminder of the Mourneview Park football family.
The hours and efforts put in by so many associated with the Lurgan Blues - from club staff to supporters - to clear the snow and ensure a successful pitch inspection ahead of what proved defeat to Loughgall in the quarter-finals attracted well-earned praise.
However, for assistant manager Paul Millar, a small moment ahead of kick-off held greater significance and strengthened his bond to Glenavon.
The match on Saturday marked the first anniversary of the death of Millar’s son, Philip, under circumstances which led to Glenavon ultimately selecting Addiction NI as the club’s chosen charity.
The decision to honour the occasion with a sponsored charity balloon launch provided the latest example of the support from which the Millar family have drawn comfort in the aftermath of the tragedy.
“This will be my last club in football and over the bad times - but also the good - the people here have proven to be so special,” said Millar. “The idea to mark the anniversary of Philip’s death with a balloon launch then turned into a sponsorship idea which had backing from the directors, officials, backroom team, players, Academy and supporters.
“The efforts to get the game on really marked the club and community out as something special and I cannot think of too many other Premiership managers who, like Gary Hamilton, would have left the ground at 2am on Saturday morning then been back at 7am to continue helping clear the pitch.
“But over the past year there have been so many examples of that generosity, particularly from Glenavon but also around the game at so many levels.
“My ultimate objective is to help fund a role for someone to work in the Lurgan area at street level.”