Death of Portadown railway enthusiast

Fred Cooper pictured at a Mayoral Reception for Baillies Mills Accordion Band at Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn in June 2010.

Fred Cooper pictured at a Mayoral Reception for Baillies Mills Accordion Band at Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn in June 2010.

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The funeral will take place today, Friday, of Fred Cooper.

Over the years Fred’s passionate interest in Irish railways has been well documented. A multi-talented man, Fred has been much involved in music, being an accomplished accordion player, his interest in the instrument stretching back over 65 years.

Fred played for decades with Edgarstown Accordion Band. Indeed, he was the proud owner of a gold watch, awarded by the Edgarstown men in recognition of 50 years of unwavering service. And while his marching days are few and far between nowadays - “the legs just aren’t up to it,” he says - he plays as a member of Ballie’s Mills Accordion Orchestra.

Craigavon Museum Services paid the following tribute: “We are very saddened to hear of the death of Portadown man Fred Cooper. Fred was a great friend of the Museum, who over the years enthusiastically assisted with many of our enquiries, events and exhibitions. In particular Fred’s knowledge of railways was matched by few as was his generosity; whenever help was needed Fred was only too happy to oblige. We along with many other people will fondly remember his famous steam railway film shows, packed with footage filmed by Fred during the 1950s and 1960s, which most recently featured on Barra Best’s Walk the Line programme. He will be greatly missed.”

Burial will take place today in Seagoe Cemetery.