One of the founding members of the Fort Riding Centre for the Disabled near Maghera has died.
John McCloskey passed away in Marina Care Home, Ballyronan, yesterday.
Announcing his death, the Fort Group said Mr McCloskey was instrumental in setting up the association four decades ago in Desertmartin.
"It then moved to Maghera in 1978 and in 1982, the existing centre was officially opened. In fact, it was John who suggested the name ‘Fort’," said a post on its Facebook page.
"During his time at the group, hundreds of riders benefitted from John’s cheerful and enthusiastic lessons.
"His dedication ensured that the Fort Group continued to grow and thrive throughout the years. John also took the Group to Balmoral Show on numerous occasions to take part in the RDA Fancy Dress Parade.
"Even in his later years, John still played an active part in any decisions made regarding the Fort Group. Without John, many riders would not have been given the opportunities offered by Fort Centre.
"Friends of John are most welcome to pay their respects at JA Gormley’s Funeral Home, 1 Main Street, Maghera on Thursday 7th November from 1pm to 9.30pm. His funeral will leave the Funeral Home on Friday at 10.30am for 11am Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Glen. Internment afterwards in adjoining cemetery."
Many people have left tributes on the Facebook page. One read: "Fond memories of a true gentleman, thoughts and prayers with his family and friends, God Bless xoxo."
Another said: "RIP John. You did so much for the kids. I remember when my brother used to attend the riding school and loved it many years ago. Many lovely memories. Always a gentleman with the kindest soul."