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Glowing tributes paid to retiring secretary

GLOWING tributes have been paid to Edwin Cartwright who has officially stepped down as secretary of the Tyrone Farming Society.

Mr Cartwright had been secretary since 2004 and his 15 years service was acknowledged at a reception in the Silverbirch Hotel to mark his retirement and celebrate his valued contribution to the organisation behind Omagh Show.

During his time as secretary “Eddie”, as he is affectionately known, served under six different chairmen, was responsible for the day-to day-running of the Society’s activities, played a key role in the history of Omagh Show being published in 2007 and a year later, alongside the then chairman Bertie Pollock, initiated a bursary programme that has gone from strength to strength.

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Among those leading the tributes at Thursday evening’s function, was current chairman Thomas Harkin who said Eddie had been a “great ambassador” for the society.

“He has represented the society at the Irish Shows Association (ISA) and the Northern Ireland Irish Shows Association (NISA),” he said.

“At last year’s Irish Shows Association in Newry I realised the high esteem Eddie is held in.

“I have found Eddie an absolute gentleman. He’s genuine, honest, hard working and was a pleasure to be associated with.”

The Society’s honorary secretary Colm Broderick concurred with the words of the chairman by adding, “Eddie has presided over numerous chairmen since I have been in office and this year he as given us our most successful show to date.

“On behalf of myself as honorary secretary I wish Eddie well in his retirement.”

Mr Cartwright played a steady hand throughout his tenure, acting with professionalism, dedication and commitment at all times. In the event of the occasional crisis he could be relied upon to step up to the plate.

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One such occasion was the sudden passing of long-serving office administrator and secretary of the ladies committee, Daphne Orr in March 2018.

Chairperson of the ladies section, Jennifer Hawkes recalled how the retiring secretary had ridden to the rescue in their hour of need.

“Nothing was really ever a bother to Eddie and the ladies committee found him most supportive,” she said.

“Like the team player that he is Eddie stepped into the role of our secretary after Daphne passed away without a second thought.

“There has been many highs and lows in the past 15 years with the odd crisis or two being averted. Through it all Eddie remained calm and in his own way tactfully dealt with the situation while keeping the integrity of the society intact.”

Mr Cartwright became the seventh secretary of the society when taking over the reins from Mr Pollock and said he was “very fortunate” to be appointed in 2004. He served alongside chairs David Stewart, Bertie Pollock, John Chambers, Jennifer Hawkes. Alan Kyle and Thomas Harkin and said it had been a “honour and privilege” to serve the local farming organisation.

“It was a wonderful experience to be involved in the society, to meet numerous people and make numerous friends, to go to places and do things I wouldn’t have had the chance to do if I hadn’t been secretary of the Tyrone Farming Society,” he said.

In closing he thanked everyone who had supported him during his time in office, in particular the late Mrs Orr who he said had been “a true friend and comrade for 13 years.”|

Following the various speeches Mr Cartwright was presented with a number of gifts which included a specially commissioned shepherd’s crook and a golfing weekend at the famed K Club.

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