By Bonny Burrows
James (Jim) Lindsay Allan
31 December 1925 – 7 January 2018
On Saturday 7 April Berwick Football Club will don black armbands in memory of life member Jim Allan, who died earlier this month on 7 January.
It’s a simple gesture, but one that means a lot to Jim’s wife Joy.
“Football was Jim’s life,” Joy said.
A former star player of the club, James Lindsay Allan, or Jim as he preferred, was born on 31 December 1925 in the Mallee.
His love of football began at a young age after his family relocated to the Pakenham area to escape the long drought.
However, it wasn’t until 1946 that a then 21-year-old Jim joined the Berwick Football Club (BFC).
The club said immediately Jim was “a star player and off-field contributor”.
The young gun quickly rose up the ranks of the club, becoming secretary in 1949 and president from 1952 to 1955.
Despite his increased off-field duties, Jim remained a top player with the club.
In 1954, when Berwick won the inaugural South West Gippsland League Premiership, Jim – a full back on the day – was named best on ground.
He remained with the club for another four years before retiring, but not from his behind the scenes work.
His dedication to the BFC was rewarded in 1961 with a “well-earned” life membership.
Until 2016, Jim and Joy would attend the club’s annual past players get together – something that didn’t go unnoticed by the club.
“Jim and his old pre-1970 mates probably don’t recognise their attendance and past contribution is appreciated,” the club said in a statement.
“The present day club executives are well aware of Jim’s loyalty and black armbands will be worn at our first 2018 home game.”
At home, Jim was a “one-eyed Collingwood supporter”, who also loved golfing was good friend Paul Wellings at the Montuna Golf Club, camping and travelling.
Jim, who married Joy in 1965 at the Upwey Anglican Church, was also an integral member of the local Scouting community.
At the end of WWII, which he did not attend despite being in the air force as he came down with the mumps, Jim and his old Scout troop leader Ron Yates reformed the 1st Berwick Scout Group.
His contributions to scouting, which included forming a wolf pack club the opening of a Scout hall in 1954, and teaching over 100 boys to water ski during holidays at Lake Eildon, were later recognised with a Scouting Certificate of Long Service and Medal of Merit.
He was a Paul Harris Fellow and Dandenong Central Rotary Club member of more than 20 years, a foundation parent of the Beaconhills Christian College in Pakenham and a Berwick Masonic Lodge 50-year Jewel recipient.
With his many interests, it was not unusual for Jim to be attending 19 regular meetings a month.
However, his community works slowed down in his later years as he battled a long-term illness.
Still, Jim always made sure to spend time with his grandchildren, to whom he was affectionately known as Pa Pa.
Jim’s seven-year battle ended on 7 January.
The much-loved local was farewelled by friends, family and the broader community on 11 January at the Berwick Anglican Church.
Joy said despite her huge loss, she had beautiful memories that would be with her always.
“He was just a wonderful person, he really was,” Joy said.
“We were very blessed, we had a wonderful life.”
Joy, on behalf of the family, thanked the community “for their beautiful flowers, cards, wishes and attendance at the service.”
She also expressed her appreciation to Paul Wellings for his “wonderful help” during Jim’s later years.