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Tributes paid following passing of ‘Edgarstown stalwart’ Derek Cooke

Derek Cooke

Tributes have been paid to a Portadown man who had community at his heart.

Derek Cooke, who passed away on Sunday, was described by Upper Bann MP, Carla Lockhart, as an “Edgarstown stalwart”.

Derek, who was the beloved husband of the late Dawn, cherished father of Ian, Esther and Karen, father in law of Lisa, Dean and Stephen, was a long standing and much respected member of the Edgarstown community.

Ms Lockhart said: “First and foremost my thoughts are very much with Derek’s family and friends. It is such a huge loss, and my sympathy is very much with them at this difficult time.

“It was an absolute privilege to know Derek for many years. He had a great heart for the community in Edgarstown, and that was reflected in the amount of work he did for the area and his dedication to the Edgarstown Residents Association. Around the area the impact of Derek’s work can be seen. Many people can testify to the positive influence he has been in the area.

“As we mourn Derek’s passing, we do so recognising this was a man who lived his family and friends, and his community. He will be sorely missed.”

Edgarstown Community Association are also mourning the loss of Derek, a former chairperson of the Association.

They said: “Derek devoted years of his life to Edgarstown Residents Association and all those who resided here. His willingness, commitment and hard work will be fondly remembered by his friends here in Edgarstown.

“Derek was pivotal in laying the foundations for ERA, and without his vision, we would not be the organisation we are today. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this sad time.

“May there be comfort in knowing that someone so special will never be forgotten.”

Portadown MLA, Jonathan Buckley, added: “Really sorry to hear this. I counted Derek as a friend, a good man whose heart was in bettering his community. To lose both Derek and Phyllis [Abraham] in a short space of time really is hard to take.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Derek’s family and friends.”

Derek’s funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 12 noon in St. Columba’s Parish Church with committal following in Drumcree Parish Church graveyard.

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