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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Funeral held of Cumbria's richest man

Cumbria's richest man, the peer and leading industrialist Lord Ballyedmond, was an example of what hard work and determination can achieve, mourners at his funeral have been told.

Lord Ballyedmond funeral photo
Lord Ballyedmond's coffin is carried by his sons Edward and James

Self-made multi-millionaire Lord Ballyedmond was killed earlier this month along with three others when his helicopter crashed in fog near an estate he owned in Norfolk.

The 70-year-old Conservative life peer who also owned Corby Castle at Great Corby, near Carlisle, was reportedly worth £860m.

At a requiem mass in Newry Cathedral near his home in County Down, Canon Francis Brown revealed the tycoon, also known as Dr Edward Haughey, had a thirst for knowledge and used his fortune for good, making many significant unpublished donations to charities and educational establishments.

“Lord Ballyedmond’s death is painful for many people,” the cleric said.

“Many people in Newry, and far beyond are suffering a huge loss. They are identifying, in the best way they can, with the pain and tremendous loss suffered by his wife Mary, his daughter Caroline, his sons Edward and James, the Haughey family and Edward’s many friends.”

Best known as chairman and founder of Co Down-headquartered Norbrook Laboratories, the largest privately-owned pharmaceutical company in the world with a base in Kingstown in Carlisle, the father-of-three had a range of other business interests.

Many of the 2,000 people he employed in Northern Ireland were among those to pay their respects at his funeral mass in Newry yesterday, the city in which he founded his Norbrook firm more than four decades ago.

Among the mourners were First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Lord Trimble, Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt and former Irish taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Outside, more than 1,000 people gathered as the funeral cortege passed through the city centre.

“He was a self taught, hard working, determined individual who had a thirst for knowledge,” said Canon Brown.

Stressing the importance the businessman’s family held in his life, the priest said the “great influence” he had on others extended beyond relations and friends.

“Edward made many significant donations over the years to educational establishments and charitable organisations,” he said.

“Most of these were never published and many charities and schools in the locality benefited. He had a keen interest in the development of the science subjects in all educational establishments.”

The service was held ahead of burial across the Irish border in Lord Ballyedmond’s native county of Louth.

Declan Small, Dr Haughey’s site foreman at the Norbrook plant in Newry, also died in the crash. The 42-year-old’s funeral was held in his home town of Mayobridge, Co Down.

Helicopter pilots Capt Carl Dickerson, 36, and Capt Lee Hoyle, 45, were also killed when the Agusta Westland AW139 came down in a field. The cause of the incident has yet to be determined with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch examining the circumstances.

A life peer with a seat in the House of Lords, first on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party before switching to the Conservative Party, Dr Haughey had also previously sat in the upper house of the Republic of Ireland’s parliament, the Seanad.

As well as Corby Castle and his stately home in Norfolk, he owned Ballyedmond Castle in Rosstrevor, Co Down, and a property in Belgrave Square, London.

He began his pharmaceutical career in the US in the 1960s selling animal drugs.

He owned an air travel business, and at one stage the lease of Carlisle Airport, which he sold in 2008.

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