Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 20 November 2017

Hero cattle breeder died saving husband from aggressive cow on farm

Thelma Gorman with then Agriculture Minister for Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill at 2014 Armagh Show
Thelma Gorman with then Agriculture Minister for Northern Ireland, Michelle O’Neill at 2014 Armagh Show

Donna Deeney

A pensioner who died after she was trampled by a cow had been trying to restrain the animal after it attacked her husband and knocked him to the ground.

Cattle breeder Thelma Gorman (67) - a highly respected figure in the local farming community - was fatally injured on Friday at the farm in Co Armagh she ran with husband Peter.

While the findings of a Health and Safety Executive investigation have yet to be made public, it is understood Mrs Gorman was restraining the cow, which had struck her husband, knocking him to the ground.

It is believed the couple had been due to leave for a short holiday today.

Instead, Mrs Gorman will be laid to rest tomorrow following a funeral service at Armagh Free Presbyterian Church, where a large contingent from the local farming community is expected to show its respects.

A committed Christian, she was a well-known breeder of pedigree Simmental cattle.

She was also a director of the Armagh County Agricultural Show.

Among those mourning her loss is Newry and Armagh DUP Assembly Member William Irwin.

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Mr Irwin, also a farmer, knew Mrs Gorman well.

He said: "Thelma has been used to animals all her life and this particular animal was known to be boisterous and they were aware of that, but I am sure they never thought this would have happened.

"Thelma was brilliant with animals, she was well used to them and very able.

"But, of course, animals can be unpredictable and this particular animal attacked her.

"Being a farmer myself, you get used to working with animals, but you don't expect an animal to attack you, even though statistics show 30% of accidents on farms are caused by animals.

"If you are dealing with animals you cannot fully protect yourself, that is the hard reality; there is that element of risk no matter what.

"She was a kind, gracious and very pleasant person who had a word for everyone she met.

"She will be best remembered for her work in Simmental cattle and her loss will be felt right across the farming community in Northern Ireland, but especially in Armagh.

"She was known far and wide and the high regard in which she was held will be evident, I'm sure, on Tuesday by the number of people who come to pay their respects to the family.

"Of course, it is the family whose lost is greatest and the whole community will rally around them and offer their prayers and support."

Mrs Gorman's funeral service is at 1.30pm tomorrow, followed by interment in First Keady (The Temple) Presbyterian churchyard.


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