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James Norman C Walsh, MBE BAgr 1958 (died 07 January 2018, aged 83)

 

Extracted from obituary by Norman’s daughter Roxy which can be found in The Guardian.

Norman Walsh MBE, died suddenly at his home in Hillsborough on 7 January, aged 83.

Born near Dromore, County Down, the son of Rowland, a schoolteacher, and his wife, Etta (nee Culbert), who had run a photographic business before her marriage. After attending Methodist College Belfast and Greenmount Agricultural College, Norman won a scholarship to study agriculture at Queen’s. On graduating in 1958 joined the animal feeds firm BOCM, part of Unilever.

A keen and highly respected beekeeper throughout his life he was a two-times world cup winner at the national Honey Show with his bell heather honey, from bees he transported into the Mourne Mountains on a custom-built wheelbarrow.

Following his retirement in 1989 Norman took up beekeeping in earnest, competing, teaching, judging and travelling with his wife, Rosemary, to Apimondia, beekeeping’s international convention. He was certified as a lecturer in apiculture in 1996 and a honey judge in 2003. He was appointed MBE in 2008 for services to beekeeping in Northern Ireland.

When being presented with his MBE, Norman made Her Majesty the Queen laugh at the investiture by replying to her question about the problem of varroa, a pest to honeybees, by suggesting the research could be better funded by HM government.

A member of Kirk Session and treasurer of Hillsborough Presbyterian church for more than 20 years, Norman served as convenor on several of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s committees. He was president of the Grain Trade Association of Northern Ireland and of the Ulster Beekeepers, and chair of governors of Downshire School in Hillsborough, Co Down.

He is survived by Rosemary (nee Cairns), whom he married in 1959, and their three children, Gilbert, Fiona and Roxy, six grandchildren, Katy, Sophie, Pádraig, Caitlín, Jason and Lee, and a great-grandson, Arthur.

 

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