Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Top entertainment promoter dies

Northern Ireland entertainment promoter Jim Aiken has died after a short illness.
In a lifetime of bringing big name artists to Ireland, he was best known for the recent series of concerts in the grounds of Stormont in Belfast.

Mr Aiken grew up in Jonesboro, County Armagh, and started work as a teacher of physics and maths at Harding Street school in Belfast.

He left teaching in 1965 when his work promoting bands began to take off.

The promoter travelled the world encouraging bands and singers to come to Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.

He was closely associated with stars like Charley Pride, Sir Elton John, Sir Cliff Richard, Luciano Pavarotti and Garth Brooks.

After intervention by the former secretary of state, Mo Mowlam, it was Jim Aiken who promoted the series of concerts at Stormont which included the Eagles and Rod Stewart.

The Aiken family said he died peacefully at home.

The family said, in a brief statement, that they would like to extend their thanks to all those who had lent their support and sent kind wishes.

Mr Aiken is survived by his wife of 47 years, Anne, son Peter and daughters Claire, Susan, Cathy and Joan and 11 grandchildren.