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Paul Ferguson: Co Armagh equine vet played key role at Olympics in Rio

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Paul Ferguson specialised in horses as a veterinarian

Paul Ferguson specialised in horses as a veterinarian

Paul Ferguson specialised in horses as a veterinarian

Tributes have been paid after the death of an equine vet from Co Armagh who worked at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Paul Ferguson (62), who was originally from Portadown, died suddenly at his home in Marlborough, England, on April 24.

He is survived by his mother Nan (102), children Sam and Katy and the wider family circle. He was predeceased by his father Crozier.

Tributes flooded in for Mr Ferguson's from as far away as Australia, where he practised for 10 years early on in his career in New South Wales.

After attending Portadown College Mr Ferguson studied as a vet in Glasgow.

He went on to work in Hunter Valley, Australia, for the next decade.

He then settled in Newmarket, England, and specialised in horses, later becoming a partner at Valley Equine Hospital.

This led him to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where he worked as an independent equine vet.

He was also in charge of flying the showjumping horses to Brazil.

Cousin Ian Milne said he loved the experience of taking part in the Games as he got to meet horse breeders and riders from all over.

"The one thing that amazed him at the Olympics was they had a mobile horse ambulance with a full intensive care operating theatre on wheels," explained Mr Milne.

"He told me it was as well equipped as his theatres were in England, but it was mobile. He said it was just amazing.

"The weather was one of the things he liked and he just found the experience fantastic because he met people interested in horses from all over the world.

"The horses were at the top of their game and it was just an amazing experience for him in Brazil.

"The bond between Paul and I was amazingly strong.

"There were many calls a day, whether it was nonsense speak, world news, lifting each other when we were down or simple enquiries about our day."

Many friends and colleagues in Australia also passed on their condolences to Mr Ferguson's family.

Cameron Collins, managing director of Scone Equine Group and a friend of Mr Ferguson, said: "Fergo, as he was always known to us in the horse industry and veterinary profession in the Hunter Valley, touched everyone he worked and played with in Australia.

"He will be missed as an excellent equine veterinarian, a valued mentor and a really good bloke."

Belfast Telegraph