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Thelma’s death stuns community

Thursday, 14 September 2017

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THE funeral will take place today (Tuesday) of well-known and highly respected cattle breeder Thelma Gorman who was killed in a tragic farming accident on Friday.
Mrs Gorman, who was 67, lost her life in an incident involving a cow at her family farm at Kilcreevy Road, outside Armagh.
The Northern Ireland Air Ambulance was called to the scene around 1.30pm, but sadly all efforts to save the well-known pedigree Simmental breeder and retired nurse, failed.
Both the PSNI and Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland attended the incident, as investigations got underway into exactly what happened.
Over the years, Mrs Gorman, who lived at Woodford Crescent, Armagh, had played a pivotal role in the Northern Ireland agricultural sector and she and husband Peter had also provided respite care for young people with learning disabilities.
In 2012, her selfless actions towards others were recognised when she received the former Armagh City and District Council's Volunteer of the Year Award.
Last year, Mrs Gorman's kindness and generosity were further recognised when she was named the winner of the Farming Life Unsung Hero Award and at the time had been described as a "committed Christian" who had "worked tirelessly" for the local community.
Mrs Gorman was also Director of Armagh County Agricultural Show and over the years had offered help and assistance to the cattle section at Tydavnet Show in County Monaghan.
Expressing sympathy to her family on behalf of the Armagh Show Committee, chairman Stephen Hamilton described Mrs Gorman as someone who was "dedicated to her cattle and who greatly encouraged young people to become involved in rearing and showing cattle of all breeds".
“We were privileged to have Thelma involved with the running and management of the cattle section for over 40 years," Mr Hamilton said.
“She was proactive in ensuring that everyone should enjoy show day, with a mandatory stop at the cattle ring.
“Thelma was deeply proud of her collection of beautiful pedigree Simmental cattle. She won many prestigious prizes over the years for these animals and was recognised as one of the top breeders of Simmentals in the country.
“She was also an active member and office bearer of the NI Simmental Club and was the first lady to hold the position of chairman of the British Simmental Breeders Society."
Mr Hamilton said Mrs Gorman was also an active member of the community, often using the skills she acquired as a nurse to help care for others.
“Everyone involved in Armagh Agricultural Show had a deep respect and love for Thelma, however we know that Thelma's greatest love was for her family.
“She talked much about them all whilst preparing for the show and it is her family circle who will miss her the most - please be assured that you will be in our thoughts and prayers," Mr Hamilton added.
Meanwhile, members of the Northern Ireland Simmental Cattle Breeders' Club have also expressed their shock and sadness at the sudden passing of Mrs Gorman, who was a long-standing and highly esteemed committee member.
Having been the only lady chairperson in the club's history, Mrs Gorman held the office on two occasions in 1997 and 2007.
“Thelma established her Woodford Herd almost 40 years ago. She was dedicated to supporting local agricultural shows, and was a great ambassador for the Simmental breed, and a tremendous inspiration to other breeders, having helped and encouraged numerous members to establish their own herds," a spokesperson said.
“The chairman and committee members extend their heartfelt condolences to her husband Peter, mother Molly, and the wider family circle."
DUP Alderman Freda Donnelly - who had known Mrs Gorman personally for many years - said she always found her to be "a very friendly and outgoing person" and a committed Christian and a lady to everyone who had known her.
“Last year, Thelma won the Farming Life Unsung Hero award and was overwhelmed at the support that she received, but this showed how much she was loved and respected in the farming community.
“She was dedicated to her cattle and was a great show woman, and a great encourager especially to young people, in rearing and showing cattle."
Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson also expressed his sadness.
”Thelma was well-known and widely respected in County Armagh and beyond, having dedicated many, many years to the local community," Mr Nicholson said.
Fellow Ulster Unionist Alderman Jim Speers also paid tribute and expressed sympathy to the family.
"I knew Thelma Gorman and her family well," said Mr Speers, who described Friday's accident as "an absolute tragedy".
“She was a long time stalwart of the Armagh Show and it wouldn`t be what it is today without her help and guidance. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family. This is another tragic example of how dangerous farming can be, but at this moment the community will be focusing on providing sympathy and support to the family," he said.
Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Sam Nicholson said like the whole community, he was left "shocked and stunned".
"Thelma was a well respected lady within the community with a great passion for agriculture. Thoughts and prayers are with Thelma's family and friends at this extremely difficult time," Mr Nicholson said.
Mrs Gorman's funeral service will be held in Armagh Free Presbyterian Church at 1.30pm today (Tuesday) and she will be laid to rest in First Keady (The Temple) Presbyterian Churchyard.
She is survived by her husband Peter, mother Molly Wilson, sister Sandra and brother-in-law Sammy, sister-in-law Violet and extended families.
Donations in lieu of flowers, if desired, are for NI Air Ambulance, c/o KG Cheevers and Son, Funeral Directors, 28 Dobbin Street, Armagh, BT61 7QQ.

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