28/02/2007

Entertainment promoter Jim Aiken dies

Northern Ireland entertainment promoter Jim Aiken has died at his home in Belfast following a short illness.

Mr Aiken, 74, originally from Jonesboro in County Armagh, was well known in the entertainment industry as one of Ireland’s leading concert organisers.

He was best known for staging a series of open air concerts in the grounds of Stormont in recent years, as well as bringing some of the world’s leading acts to Ireland. These included Elton John, Luciano Pavarotti and The Eagles.

In his youth he spent three-and-a-half years studying for the priesthood, and then worked as a teacher before focusing on showbusiness, and setting up Aiken Promotions.

Despite the troubles in Belfast, he managed to attract big names in entertainment, such as Neil Diamond and Charlie Pride to Ireland.

Mr Aiken was married with one son and four daughters, and his family issued a brief statement saying he died peacefully at his home.

He was also close friends with a number of performers, including Sir Cliff Richard, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Flatley.

The Riverdance star paid tribute, saying: “Jim was just a straight shooter. He was like a father figure to me – I loved that man.”

(JM/SP)

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