Coleraine Ploughing Society joined with the family, friends and supporters of Thomas Cochrane last Saturday evening in the Drummond Hotel, Ballykelly, to honour and celebrate his success at the recent World Ploughing Match in Germany.
After dinner and a celebratory cake, Lindley Deans, the Coleraine Ploughing Society secretary, formally introduced the proceedings. He welcomed everyone, especially those who had travelled from Donegal and counties Antrim and Down.
Coleraine President, William King spoke of Thomas’s success, winning at the World Match in 1997 in the Conventional Ploughing class and and now with Reversible Ploughing. This gave him the unique position of being the first competitor in Northern Ireland to do so with two different styles of ploughing. William said that over the years Thomas had spent many hours in practice and shown great dedication to ploughing, which he had a natural talent for.
The president also paid tribute to Mr Hugh Barr, three times a world champion, now a nonagenarian plus, who was able to be present.
Coleraine chairman William Purcell also highlighted what it meant to the Coleraine Society, to agriculture and to Northern Ireland to have someone like Thomas, who has been so successful over many years and winning both days in Germany in stubble and grassland.
Sam Gill, team member and former world champion; William Hood, team coach; and Des Wright, twice World Champion; also brought greetings and words of congratulations to the World Champion. David Gill, a former world champion was also present.
The evening concluded with Thomas replying suitably. He thanked the team for all their support and also for the encouragement and support he had locally and from his own family.