Tributes paid as Ally Whan loses battle with illness

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Tributes have been paid to Dromara woman Ally Whan who passed away last night (Wednesday).

Ally, who was in her early 30s, was a stalwart of Castlewellan Agricultural Show Ltd.

Last night the show paid tribute to Ally who they described as a highly esteemed organising committee member, finance committee member, poultry section adviser and above all a good friend.

The Dromara woman had been diagnosed in November 2006 with Pulmonary Hypertension.

In a facebook post, the show said Ally had lost her battle with her illness on Wednesday 24th May 2017, with her devoted family at her bedside.

It added: “We the committee tender our deepest sympathy to her mother Edna, father David and her adored brother Stephen and the entire family circle and friends, you will always be in our thoughts and prayers.

“Ally had such an infectious personality she was sure to light a room up by just entering it, a beautiful smile and always a kind word for everyone she met.

“We as a show were privileged to have had her involvement during our meetings and of course on the build up to show day itself. Ally was the poultry section chairlady for a few years and it always amazed us how Ally got so much help from her friends and family to set the cages up, but we were let into a secret by Ally, her helpers had their main course before they setup and she promised them pavlova when they finished,” the statement added.

“Leaving all that aside people were willing to help Ally, just as much as she was willing to help others when ever she could, nothing was any bother. We will certainly miss her wise counsel on our committee especially our finance committee where she was simply amazing using her professionalism to guide us. Ally only handed over the reins of the poultry section this year and was delighted to support the new chairman and share her expertise and knowledge she had obtained over the years.

“This year Castlewellan Show are celebrating our 50th anniversary. We had a committee night out on Friday 28th April and Ally was full of her usual spirit when she joined us. We had a great evening together and have some precious photographs of the event.

“Goodbyes hurt the most, when the story was not finished,” the statement concluded.

A tribute has also been paid on behalf of Spa Young Farmers Club members, both past and present, who have passed on sympathy to Ally’s parents, brother and wider family circle.

The tribute stated: “Ally was an outstanding past member of Spa for many years with achieving various awards over her time within the club including best secretary and treasurer at Northern Ireland level.

“Ally always went the extra mile and her support was shown at both club and county level in every aspect whilst always appreciated by all our members,” it concluded.

The President, staff and members of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster have also passed on sympathy to the Whan family.

A statement on facebook read: “Ally was a lively, vibrant and hardworking member of Spa YFC for many years acting as Club Secretary and Treasurer. She played a major part in the re-emergence of Spa and rose to be County Secretary. Despite illness she continued to be fully involved in young farmers events, the Castlewellan Show and her charity work and in recent years was a Vice President of the Spa club.

“Ally always went the extra mile and the YFCU pledge describes her best – she did her duty, she supported all activities, she helped and encouraged others and with her help so many young people in Spa became ‘Better farmers, better countrymen and women, better citizens,’” it added.

Pulmonary Hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs. The heart is not designed to pump against these high pressures and over time it starts to ‘fail’.

Since being diagnosed in 2006 Ally as involved in fundraising efforts in an attempt to raise awareness around the disease.