OBIT­U­AR­IES Paddy Wick­ham was the lifeblood of the GAA in Wex­ford for 70 years

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

THE GAA in Wex­ford and be­yond is in mourn­ing on the death of their Pres­i­dent and former Chair­man, Paddy Wick­ham.

Paddy passed away peace­fully at his res­i­dence, Red Pat’s Cross, Bloom­field, David­stown, on Fri­day, with the sad news leav­ing the GAA in the county in shock at the pass­ing of the leg­endary fig­ure.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple filed into his home through Satur­day to pay re­spects to one of GAA’s most pop­u­lar of­fi­cials.

He had served the county in so many ca­pac­i­ties as an of­fi­cer of the County Board over so many years, that he be­came a dom­i­nant fig­ure in the As­so­ci­a­tion, not alone in the county but also at pro­vin­cial and na­tional lev­els too.

Paddy was part of the GAA for some 70 years, hav­ing played his foot­ball at un­der-age level from his early youth, go­ing on to serve with Bal­ly­hogue whom he helped to county Se­nior foot­ball hon­ours. He was a man who re­ally en­joyed every minute of his in­volve­ment in the GAA seven days and nights a week and, if not at­tend­ing meet­ings, he would reg­u­larly travel to games through­out the county.

He was a proud Wex­ford man as he fol­lowed the county’s for­tunes in both hurl­ing and foot­ball through­out the coun­try, with pos­si­bly his most spe­cial mo­ment ar­riv­ing dur­ing his ten­ure as County Chair­man in 1996, when Martin Storey lifted the Liam MacCarthy Cup in Croke Park, the last oc­ca­sion the county took the fa­mous tro­phy home.

Paddy was a man who lived life to the ab­so­lute full. He was a man who never looked back, al­ways look­ing for­ward to what could be achieved for the bet­ter­ment of the As­so­ci­a­tion in the county. When­ever one met Paddy, no mat­ter from what club, his first words were al­ways: ‘How will you do this year?’

It was that close­ness with the clubs that helped him be­come such a pop­u­lar fig­ure and one of the big­gest vote gath­er­ers ever in the As­so­ci­a­tion in the county. If a book had been opened with Paddy con­test­ing an elec­tion he would have been un­back­able given the short­ness of the odds. That just about sums up his pop­u­lar­ity in the county.

Paddy played his early foot­ball with Bal­ly­hogue, win­ning a Ju­nior cham­pi­onship medal in 1961, fol­lowed by a Se­nior medal in 1962.

It was while farm­ing at his home at Red Pat’s Cross that Paddy be­came in­volved with the David­stown- Court­nacuddy club, where he was to go on an hold prac­ti­cally every of­fi­cer po­si­tion, while also dur­ing this time he served as Chair­man and Sec­re­tary of Enniscorthy District GAA.

One of the many high­lights of his ca­reer was when he was elected County Chair­man in 1994, a po­si­tion he held for some seven years. He also went on to rep­re­sent Wex­ford both at Le­in­ster Coun­cil and Cen­tral Coun­cil lev­els.

He gave a life­time of ser­vice to the GAA, and in the midst of all those roles he also man­aged to act as a se­lec­tor with the county Se­nior foot­ball team. A lover of foot­ball, he took a par­tic­u­larly keen in­ter­est in the ‘ big ball’ game and en­joyed so much the progress made un­der Ja­son Ryan, play­ing in two Le­in­ster finals and an All-Ire­land semi-fi­nal.

Known as an ex­pert on the rules, Paddy could re­late to any rule in the book when act­ing as County Chair­man, but was al­ways fair and ap­pre­ci­ated the predica­ment any in­di­vid­ual or club found them­selves in.

A real gen­tle­man, he will go down in history as one of the most ap­proach­able of­fi­cers that has served Wex­ford GAA, and those in the me­dia will re­mem­ber his friendly ap­proach and fair­ness at all times.

Born and reared in Wil­ton Bree, he was a brother to Wil­lie, Marie, Agnes, Cora and the late Kit­tie and Lill. He at­tended Bree Na­tional School but left at an early age to help out on the fam­ily farm. A hard worker, he learned every­thing he needed to know on the fam­ily farm and would later re­turn to farm­ing with a ven­ture of his own in David­stown in the early six­ties.

Be­fore that, how­ever, Paddy met his beloved wife Peig and a great ro­mance en­sued. They were mar­ried in 1960 and moved into 4 Mar­ket Square where they set up a shop which they had for many years and where they reared their fam­ily con­sist­ing of Tom, Mary, Anne, Mar­garet, Joan and Syl.

Hun­dreds at­tended the fu­neral Mass in St David’s church, David­stown, on Sun­day af­ter­noon, with burial tak­ing place after­wards in the ad­join­ing ceme­tery.

It’s quite likely that as Paddy as­cends the steps to heaven, as he did the steps of the Ho­gan Stand 21 years ago with all of his col­leagues, that Our Lord will echo the im­mor­tal words of Micheál O’He­hir as he meets him by say­ing: ‘well done Paddy Wick­ham’.

Paddy was pre­de­ceased by his wife Peig only last Jan­uary and cel­e­brated his 79th birth­day at July’s end. He is mourned by his chil­dren Tom, Mary, Anne, Mar­garet, Joan and Syl, brothers Wil­lie, sis­ter Marie, Agnes, Cora and the late Kitty and Lill and ex­tended fam­ily.

Go ndéana dia tro­caire ar a anam dílis.

The late Paddy Wick­ham.

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