EDITOR'S BLOG: Tributes to Dean and a heroic rescue

Michael Scott

Reporter:

Michael Scott

Email:

editor@ulstergazette.co.uk

IT was with great sadness that we, at the Ulster Gazette, learned of the passing of Dean Wright at the weekend.

The last time I interviewed Dean was at his factory, just off the Mahon Road in Portadown. It wasn't long into the first lockdown and the then Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots, was there to hear how Dean had turned a crisis into a winning formula.

Within hours of Boris Johnson announcing the lockdown, Ballylisk of Armagh had upwards of 70% of their orders cancelled. Rather than letting all of the milk which had been produced go to waste, he decided to sell the milk and set up a doorstep delivery service. Better yet, other local businesses were able to piggy back off the idea, giving them an avenue to sell their products to the public.

I remember being struck by how enthusiastic Dean was about his business and his products. He knew he had something special – that's why the likes of Fortnum and Mason sold his cheese.

Many people in the community thought Dean was special too, and since news of his death broke we have received so many tributes about his life. We have a selection of those on our front page and inside as well.

Of course, our thoughts are with Dean's family and friends at this sad time.

Elsewhere on our front page, we have the dramatic story about how a Tandragee family saved a young boy from drowning on the Cusher River.

Mike Greer, his son Zachary and daughter Bethany came to the rescue yesterday (Sunday) lunchtime.

Last night I spoke to Mike, who really doesn't think that he is a hero, although many of you told us in the comments on Facebook that you thought he was.

Thankfully, the young boy is OK and out of hospital. We wish him and his father well and send our congratulations to Mike, Zachary and Bethany for coming to the rescue.

Finally from me, we were saddened to report on the death of Billy Paynter, who died yesterday.

I'm sure Billy entertained many of our readers on nights out in local venues and at weddings.

Since his passing I've read many comments describing him as an Armagh icon; someone who really knew how to work a crowd and who was one of life's good guys.

I'm sure many of you will have your own memories of Billy and we'd love to hear them from you.

There's lots more inside this week's Gazette, which is on sale in the shops from Tuesday morning, or you can download it from our digital newstand, which can be found on the homepage of our website.

And if you have a story for us, or you think that there's something which we should be highlighting, email us at editor@ulstergazette.co.uk or call our office on 028 3752 2639.

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