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Tributes paid to 'true gent' Wilson Holden

Tributes have been paid to Northern Ireland Ploughing Association chairman Wilson Holden (60) who died last week after suffering a stroke.

A ploughing match that was due to take place in Hillsborough today has been cancelled as a mark of respect to the popular Larne man.

Speaking last night, Lindley Deans, vice-chairman of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association, said his friend of 27 years would be greatly missed.

"Wilson was a gentle giant," said Mr Deans.

"Just a real, true gentleman.

"His death came completely out of the blue.

"It's a terrible shock to us all."

A dairy and cereal farmer, Mr Holden had just celebrated his 60th birthday last week, and was in his eighth year as chairman of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association.

Mr Deans offered his deepest sympathies and condolences to Mr Wilson's family.

"It's very hard for his family," he said.

"It came so suddenly. It's tragic."

A spokeswoman for Northern Ireland Ploughing Association said: "It is with deepest sadness that we learn of the passing of our esteemed chairman and friend, Wilson Holden.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Ali, children, grandchild and family members."

Mr Holden's funeral takes place today at Gardenmore Presbyterian Church, Victoria Road Larne at 1pm.

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