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Tribute to prominent businessman who ‘leaves a lasting legacy’ for Lurgan

Derek Geddis Avondale Foods

A well-known Co Armagh businessman, who was one of two brothers to set up Avondale Foods, has passed away.

Derek Geddis, who was 75, died peacefully at his home in Waringstown on Wednesday.

He established the renowned Lurgan food firm alongside his brother, Harry, in 1965. The brothers started in business growing vegetables at their family farm for distribution to local markets and retail outlets. The company now has around 400 employees.

Derek has been credited with leaving “a lasting legacy” for the town of Lurgan.

Glenavon FC, where Derek was a former director, paid tribute to a lifelong supporter.

A Club spokesperson said: “Derek served on the board of directors from August 1996 to September 2003. He acted as treasurer for the last fifteen months of his tenure.

“Derek was president of the William Walker Glenavon Supporters’ Club.

“He was a nephew of former Glenavon chairman Wilfie Geddis and vice-chairman Cecil Geddis and a cousin of former director Cecil Geddis.

“Derek and his brother Harry, sons of Samuel Geddis, established Avondale Foods. Today Avondale is one of the biggest employers in north Armagh. It specialises in the production of prepared vegetables and salads and has, for decades, supplied Marks and Spencer amongst others.

Derek Geddis with his brother Harry

“Derek, who played both football and rugby in his youth, was also president of Queen’s Park Swifts and Lurgan Town football clubs.

“He leaves a lasting legacy of providing vital employment and financial support for sport and other good causes in the Lurgan area. Sincere condolences are extended to the Geddis family. Be Just and Fear Not.”

A funeral notice described Derek, who passed away surrounded by his loving family, as the beloved and devoted husband of Valerie, treasured father of Dawn, Greer and the late Grace and Edward, father-in-law of Nick and Katie also a much loved Granda of Jack, Poppy, Ethan, Aaron and Lucy and a cherished brother of Harry, Shirley and the late Doris.

Family and friends are welcome to call at his late home.

Funeral Service on Friday at 12 noon in Knocknamuckley Parish Church with committal following in Lurgan Cemetery.

Family flowers only please. Donations for the benefit of Knocknamuckley Parish Church and Lurgan District Nursing Team via or cheques made payable to Milne Funeral Services Donations Account c/o 57 Tandragee Road, Lurgan, BT66 8TL.

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