Tributes have poured in for a popular Co Armagh businessman who died suddenly on Saturday
Dean Wright, owner of Ballylisk of Armagh, has been described as an “absolute gentleman” and “passionate man” by many in the food and business industry.
A spokesperson for Food NI said: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Dean has passed away. Dean was a passionate producer, enthusiastic team member and great friend. He will be so sadly missed. Deepest condolences to Dean’s family and loved ones at this very sad time”
Political representatives from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council paid tribute to the 48-year-old, who is the fifth generation of his family to work the land – and the first generation to make cheese.
Councillor Kyle Savage, Deputy Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon District Council, said Dean was “never slow in helping others out”.
“I want to pass on my sympathy to Dean’s Family,” Councillor Savage said.
“Dean was a passionate and proud advocate of his business, Ballylisk of Armagh and I had the pleasure of visiting them on many occasions.
“He was a beacon for the ABC Council area food heartland and won many awards for his fantastic cheese. He was passionate about local food and helping our local food industry.
“Dean was never slow in helping others out and his company supplied me with Christmas food hampers which in turn I gave out to local community groups. Dean contacted me at the start of lockdown about a cheese order that was cancelled and wanted me to help him deliver it to a local food bank Via Wings as he didn’t want it going to waste. The value of this was £2000 and he took that loss to help those in need. That was the measure of the man.
“Hardly a week went past that we didn’t have at least a conversation when we spoke about many things, least of all putting the world to rights about farming, local food and opportunities for business.
“Dean was an inspiration to many people and helped many people involved within the local artisan food industry. Dean will be sadly missed by his family and by his many friends. My thoughts and prayers are with them all including Chloe and the rest of the staff at his business.”
Alderman Jim Speers MBE said: “Yesterday morning I received the devastating news regarding the death of local farmer and businessman Dean Wright. This is an absolute tragedy for the family, local community and the entire farming and food sector within Northern Ireland.
“Having known Dean, along with his mum and dad and the entire family circle for all my adult life, they are a very hardworking and respected family. I extend my deepest heartfelt sympathy to the entire family at this difficult time.”
Portadown Rugby Club said: “All at Portadown Rugby Club are greatly saddened to hear of the passing of former player Dean Wright who died suddenly on Saturday.
“Our deepest sympathies to his daughters Louise and Sarah, his parents Jim and Georgie, Mark, Alan, Philip and indeed all of the family.”
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