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Poignant farewell to Bertie Pollock

IT seemed entirely fitting that Omagh businessman and the long-serving secretary of Omagh Show, Robert (Bertie) Pollock MBE, pictured, should have been laid to rest on Saturday.

Following a long battle with illness, Mr Pollock, 77, passed away late on Thursday night in the South West Acute Hospital surrounded by his family.

Had it not been for the Covid pandemic, the 2021 Omagh Show would have taken place on the very day of Mr Pollock’s funeral service at Edenderry Parish Church.

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Omagh Show was one of Mr Pollock’s great passions.

He served as secretary of the Tyrone Farming Society, organisers of the annual agricultural show, for 36 years and acted as chairman from 2007 to 2009.

He also served as chairman of the Northern Ireland Shows’ Association for a year.

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Mr Pollock, who founded Pollock Estate Agents, was one of the key players behind the sale of the old Sedan Avenue showgrounds – now the Showgrounds Retail Park – to accommodate the move of Omagh Show to its current site on the Drumquin Road, adjacent to the Omagh Auction Mart premises.

During his time as chairman a book charting of the history of Omagh Show was published and bursaries for the three agricultural colleges was also initiated.

Among the many people paying tribiute to Mr Pollock was Joe Crozier, the current chairman of the Tyrone Farming Society.

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“He was a real stalwart of the show, in fact most of his life had revolved around it,” said Mr Crozier.

“He was one of main drivers in selling the old showgrounds and purchasing the current site. His life was his church and Omagh Show.

“He will be sadly missed by everyone. Bertie had a wealth of experience and knowledge and he was a good man to turn to for a bit of advice.

“He had business acumen and had a lot of contacts. He was an organiser and a great man for the show.”

Edwin Cartwright succeeded Mr Pollock as Tyrone Farming Society secretary in 2004 and a few years later worked alongside him during his chairmanship.

He saw the deceased operating at close quarters.

“That’s one thing about Bertie you always knew where you stood with him,” he said.

“He knew so many people, he was a real driving force and if he had to be wasn’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers. He had vision and approached most things with his business head on.”

After leaving school at 14, Mr Pollock worked on the home farm. He was then employed as an agricultural feed representative before joining the Ulster Farmers’ Union. In 1977 he opened his estate agency and auctionering business.

In 2007 the deceased was awarded an MBE for Services to Agriculture and a year later he was appointed High Sherriff of County Tyrone.

He, too, served as chairman of the Board of Governors at Omagh County Primary School, was a stalwart member of Seskinore YFC and a leading figure in Edenderry Parish Church. His remains were laid to rest in the adjoining graveyard on Saturday.

Mr Pollock is survived by his wife Coral, sons Adrian and Keith, daughter -in-laws Beverley and Ruth and grandchildren Robbie, Ivy and Ella.

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Ulster Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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