Death of respected horse lover

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There has been much sadness at the death of Mr John Butler, who was widely known and respected not only in farming circles but for his knowledge and love of heavy horses.

Mr Butler lived at Ballyvoy, outside Ballycastle, and was 89 years old.

Described by many friends as a ‘wee gentleman’ Johnny, as he was popularly known, had a passion for horses and played a leading role in the annual St. Patrick’s Day ploughing competition in Ballycastle.

In the past he demonstrated his considerable skills with the plough and latterly helped with the organising of an event that is widely regarded as one of the best in the ploughing calendar.

Mr Butler was also prominent in the Oul Lammas Fair Heavy Horse Show which brought him into contact with some of the country’s top exhibitors many of whom would have benefitted from his expertise.

His many friends in the local branch of Marie Curie Cancer Care also have reason to mourn his death.

He was a tireless worker for the charity and spent endless hours raising funds for a cause that was dear to his heart.

As a mark of respect and an indication of his love for the Marie Curie charity, members of the family wore daffodils at the funeral with part of the church also adorned with the flower.

One close friend, Stanley Jamison commented: “Johnny will be sorely missed. He always had a cheery smile and never said a bad word about anyone. His help was always on offer to anyone no matter what class or creed.”

The funeral was one of the biggest witnessed in the area for years and, fittingly, the coffin was taken to St. Patrick’s Church, Culfeightrin, in a horse-drawn carriage. Fr. Raymond Fulton officiated.

Mr Butler is survived by his wife, Mary, and by children Marie, Denis, Bernadette, Margaret, John, Vincent, Colette, Brendan, Damien and Malachy. He was also the brother of Patricia, Alex, P.J., Gerald, Roseina and the late Denis and Annie. He is also survived by 42 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.