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Tributes to Armagh scrap dealer Arthur Gentle - gentleman and legend

By Nevin Farrell

Published 25/04/2016

The funeral of Arthur Gentle in Lurgan
The funeral of Arthur Gentle in Lurgan
A tribute to the Romany Gypsy
The funeral of Arthur Gentle in Lurgan
Arthur Gentle's scrap metal collection
The funeral of Arthur Gentle in Lurgan
Arthur Gentle

A real Co Armagh character - former scrap dealer Arthur Gentle, who has passed away at the age of 84 - "was Gentle by name and gentle by nature", his family has said.

Mr Gentle passed away at Craigavon Area Hospital on April 20, leaving behind nine children, 38 grandchildren, 100 great-grandchildren and several great great grandchildren.

On Saturday his coffin was borne from his home in Lurgan's William Street on a flat cart drawn by a horse for Requiem Mass at St Peter's Church in the town.

Mr Gentle, who was from the Romany Gypsy community, had dealt in scrap metal and also had a great love of horses.

Mourners came from across Ireland and Britain to pay their respects.

Mr Gentle was predeceased by his wife Margaret last November and was father of Bridget, Ann, Arthur, Ada, Teresa, Agnes, Linda, Caroline and Isobel and the late Freddie and Ben.

His daughter Linda said years ago her father would have taken her, her brothers and sisters, and also some grandchildren for outings on the cart used for his funeral.

He used to run a scrap business at William Street up until around 15 years ago.

She added: "He was a gentleman - a legend. My daddy was a real character. He featured on RTE and a DVD was done of him."

She said her father gave money to charity, attended fairs and was a good yodeller.

Linda said they lived at Castle Lane, Lurgan, for 45 years in mobiles and caravans.

"My father was a Romany Gypsy and his father before him. The Gentles came originally from a foreign country, believed to be Italy," she said.

Mr Gentle's grand-daughter Emma Creaney said: "He was Gentle by name and gentle by nature.

"His family never wanted for anything, I think they were one of the first families in Lurgan to own a colour TV.

"He never had enemies, nobody ever spoke a bad word about him. He was a well-respected character and a gentleman.

"Anybody that didn't know of him had heard of him, if you know what I mean.

"Even when I was up the town, people would ask me about him, people I didn't even know.

"He would have lived in a wagon when he was a boy and when he got married he was living in a barrel-topped wagon along with his first four children. Then they moved into a mobile caravan.

"He travelled around Ireland and his children were born in different parts like Tipperary and Lisburn.

"Everybody knew him.

"My granny and granddad met in Tipperary and were married in Waterford. He was a traditional man and had a traditional love of horses. He was a good man."

Left: the funeral of Arthur Gentle in Lurgan. Top, his scrap metal collection and (above) a tribute to the Romany Gypsy (right)

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