Kieran Lamph was a colossus in the business world, in the community, as a charity fund raiser and as a family man – his love for life was legendary, his energy boundless.
His sudden death at his home at the young age of 54 has left the entire community stunned.
Kieran and his wife Pauline had made their home in Loughbrickland in recent years, but he was a Portadown man (particularly a Ballyoran man) through and through. And that area – at the Mayfair Business Centre – was the nerve centre of the car trade in which he was a renowned expert.
Such was his status in the car trade that the family have decided to wind the business up. They feel that nobody could fill his shoes, and run the business with the same energy and commitment as Kieran Lamph – quite a tribute to a unique man.
His enthusiasm for everything he did was best summed up by his eldest son Christopher during Mass at St John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, which was attended by an estimated 1,500 mourners. Speaking on behalf of his mother Pauline and his siblings Conor, Ciara and Orla, Christopher said, “We are overwhelmed by the support we have had today. I know dad will be looking down, feeling impressed with the numbers he has pulled in.
“Dad’s greatest quality was his generosity. He was the kindest and most thoughtful man I have ever met. You didn’t have to ask him, he just did it. He derived genuine pleasure out of helping people, no job was too big. He raised tens of thousands of pounds over the years for various charities – his favourite was dressing up as Santa and creating a grotto in his office (at Mayfair) that would have put Castle Court to shame. All the money he raised went to SVP (St Vincent de Paul).”
As well as wife Pauline and family, Kieran is survived by brothers Niall, Dessie and Gareth. He was predeceased by Adrian, an innocent victim who was murdered in 1998 at the civic amenity site at the Fair Green where he worked for Craigavon Borough Council. It was a shattering blow to the respected Lamph family, especially to their late parents Tommy and Mona.
The Lamphs have always been proud of their Ballyoran Park roots and Kieran never forgot his old friends and neighbours. He was educated at St Columba’s School, Carleton Street, and St Malachy’s and always had a talent as a salesman.
This was developed after schooldays at the former Berwoods store at the Market Street-Woodhouse Street corner, where he sold household furniture and kitchen furniture, after which he joined the motor trade with Irish Road Motors, ending his career with them at Highfield as sales director.
The closure of Irish Road was the catalyst for him to strike out on his own. He created Kieran Lamph Motors, which reflected his vision, dealing in top-of-the-range vehicles like Range Rover and Mercedes and in the used trade, providing a wide range of motors – he operated from various sites, like Bleary, Gilford, Loughbrickland and Portadown at various times.
Christopher explained, “Dad could sell ice to the Eskimos, a born salesman. He was larger than life and thrived when he was selling anything, but particularly cars. At one point he was exporting thousands of cars a month across several European countries. He could spot an opportunity in any situation. He had this unstoppable drive and ambition, his personality was infectious.”
But while he was a successful businessman, Kieran Lamph shared his success and talents with the community. He sponsored sporting clubs like St Mary’s FC, Tir na nOg, Clan na Gael and the Lismore School team, both financially and with trophies.
His charity work was legendary. He was a staunch supporter of St Vincent de Paul, and as well as his grotto and other projects, he would treat the organisation’s volunteers to Christmas dinner. He also organised charity walks for a friend who lost a leg in an accident, raising a substantial amount for the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. And he jet-skied around the entire shore of Lough Neagh to raise £5,000 for Marie Curie – just a sample of his charity work over the years.
Most of all, he was a devoted family man, close to his wife and children and to his brothers. His home at Loughbrickland was his pride and joy, especially his immaculate 2.5 acre garden which he loved to tend, relaxing as he cultivated his plants and flowers and his herb garden. He also had a 30-foot pond in which he kept several Koi Carp fish, another of his all-consuming hobbies.
Christopher told mourners – “Dad was a great family man, who did everything for us. He always put our needs and those of mum before his own. He was so proud of all our achievements.” He finished his eulogy, “We love you dad.”
Requiem Mass was conducted by Fr Colm Wright and interment was at the adjoining cemetery.