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Much-loved farming stalwart Bill Wilson passes away

The late Bill Wilson.

Tributes have been paid to the ‘jovial and kind’ farming stalwart, Bill Wilson who was laid to rest on Wednesday.

One of the best-known figures within the local farming fraternity, William Robert Andrew Wilson – better known as ‘Bill’ – passed away peacefully at his home on the Kilskeery Road in Trillick on Sunday at the age of 87.

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He is best-remembered across the community for his role as the president of the Fermanagh and Tyrone Ploughing Society – a society which he founded alongside his friend and fellow farmer from Tyrone, Sam Robinson in the late 1980s.

Born in April 1930, Bill was a regular face at local shows, including the Omagh, Clogher Valley, and Fermanagh County shows. His passion and talent for growing show vegetables on his beloved farm in the townlands of Girgadis, Trillick and tractor ploughing has been well-documented throughout the years, and he was awarded a BEM last year for his services to the community in Tyrone and Fermanagh.

Bill was also an active member of Kilskeery Parish Church where he sang in the choir for 67 years, from the age of eight.

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Albert Hetherington, secretary of the Fermanagh and Tyrone Ploughing Society and “neighbour of Bill’s for a lifetime,” said that his friend will be deeply missed across the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh and beyond.

“I remember Bill since I was a young boy,” Albert, who owns a farm in Trillick, said. “He lived in a neighbouring townland from myself and we shared a mutual love for farming.

“Bill was a very jovial and kind man. He was also great at telling stories at different functions, and would have compered at concerts locally.

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“He also did a bit of auctioneering and he was a keen gardener, but his true passion was vegetable growing.

“He would have grown potatoes, carrots and parsnips and he took part in various local shows – and on most occasions, he won prizes.”

Mr Hetherington added, “Bill retired from farming a decade ago now, and he sold his family farm. However he remained an active member of the Fermanagh and Tyrone Ploughing Society until his health began to fail him.

“He also never forgot about his love for gardening, and would have been seen out mowing his lawn up until recently. Bill will be deeply and sorely missed.”

Mr Wilson’s remains were removed to Kilskeery Parish Church on Tuesday, ahead of his funeral service on Wednesday afternoon. Interment took place afterwards in the adjoining churchyard.

He is survived by his loving wife, Winifred (’Winnie’), and his children, David, William, Maurice, Andrew and Caroline.

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