Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to Hal Crowe, former editor of FarmWeek newspaper

Tributes have been paid to Hal Crowe who died last Friday

FRIENDS and colleagues have paid tribute to the former editor of FarmWeek newspaper, describing his death as a "sad loss to agricultural journalism".

Hal Crowe (76) from Portadown in Co Armagh, passed away on Friday.

The respected journalist worked for the Belfast Telegraph and Morton Newspapers before he was appointed editor of FarmWeek in his early 20s.

As the second editor of the publication, which was launched in 1961, he spent four decades at the helm of the agriculture based newspaper until his retirement in 2007.

Mr Crowe continued to write weekly columns for FarmWeek, which is now owned by The Irish News. He was awarded an MBE for services to journalism in 1991.

Family and friends gathered on Monday for his funeral in Epworth Methodist Church, Portadown.

FarmWeek editor Robert Irwin, who worked alongside Mr Crowe for more than 20 years, said he was "a natural journalist".

"His ability as a writer was outstanding and he was never happier than when he was banging out a story on a typewriter or later on the keyboard of a word processor," he said.

"He steered FarmWeek through major changes in technology both in the publication's Portadown office and the production systems he oversaw at the Morton Newspapers headquarters in Lurgan and latterly Portadown.

"While he helped launch the careers of a number of notable journalists, Hal evoked tremendous loyalty in his team with many staying at his side for decades."

"Often to be found at his desk in the evenings and at weekends, he would be accompanied 'out of hours' by one of his faithful dogs, or arrive in the office fresh from tinkering at his boat on the River Bann, speckled with engine oil, but with an idea in his head for an opinion piece or a news story.

"Even after his retirement Hal was a constant encouragement to myself and other FarmWeek team members and his passing is a sad loss to agricultural journalism."

He is survived by his wife Elva, children Jonathan and Dede and family circle.

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