ENNISCORTHY BIDS FAREWELL TO MUCH-LOVED TONY WICKHAM
ENNISCORTHY was in mourning last week following the news of the passing of another genuine stalwart of the local business community.
Part of the very fabric of Enniscorthy, Tony Wickham ran the butcher’s shop in Market Square for many years before passing the reins to his son Mark. He sadly passed away on Friday morning following complications arising from a knee-replacement surgery, having just celebrated 50 years of marriage to his heartbroken wife Betty days before.
There was a massive outpouring of grief in the local community after the news of Tony’s passing broke over the weekend and a huge crowd gathered at Davidstown Church on Sunday to pay their respects. Tributes were paid and memories shared of a man who was involved in nearly every facet of life in the town.
Tony set up shop in Market Square back in 1961 having learned the ropes in Brennan’s of Carlow and Vaughan’s in Enniscorthy. As well as having the butcher’s shop, there was a small pub in the back and in the evenings, Tony would swap the butcher’s apron for the bar, enjoying great craic and maybe even the odd game of cards with the regulars. Highly thought of among his customers, Tony loved nothing more than to have a chat with people who passed through the shop as he sorted them out with their meat for the week.
Following the big fire at neighbouring Murphy Floods Hotel in 2005, Tony opted to step away from the business, handing over the reins to his son Mark following the shop’s re-opening. This gave Tony more time to focus on his family. A real family man, he was the beloved husband of Betty and father to Mark and Noreen. A real love story, the pair were friends growing up before romance blossomed and they were married on November 5, 1967. Tony lived for his children and, later in life, his six grandchildren, who he was always on call to lend a helping hand with and loved to spend time with.
An extremely active man, Tony loved sports. He had a passion for athletics and ran a total of 11 marathons in his time - 10 in Dublin and one in New York. He also took a great interest in the hurling, boxing and even managed to fit in the odd round of golf. He was a great believer in charity and regularly made the trip to Lourdes to help out in any way he could and he and friends also previously raised funds to go to Gambia to meet up with Fr John O’Reilly and help with the construction of a new school there.
Always a friendly face, the local community held a special place in its heart for Tony and this was evidenced by the massive turnout at the funeral home and at Davidstown Church for his funeral mass.
‘We were absolutely blown away by the level of support we’ve received in the last few days,’ said daughter Noleen. ‘ The amount of people that passed through the doors of the funeral home over the weekend was unreal. It was lovely to see that he meant that much to so many people and it makes it a little easier for the family to think that he was so highly thought of. They say community spirit is dead in Enniscorthy, well I can assure you it’s not.’
Following an emotional funeral service, Tony was laid to rest in Davidstown Cemetery. He is survived by his loving wife Betty, daughter Noreen, son Mark, siblings Ellen, Michael, Patrick, Catherine and Mary (Tony was pre-deceased by the late Jack and Jimmy); aunt Ellen McInerney, son-in-law Jay, daughter-in-law Kelley, grandchildren relatives and a large circle of friends gathered over the years.
May he rest in peace.
The late Tony Wickham.