Bikers plan tribute to North Armagh vice-president

Joe McKeown'FAR RIGHT'INPT02-199
Joe McKeown'FAR RIGHT'INPT02-199

MOURNERS from the world of motorsport have planned a special tribute at the funeral tomorrow (Friday) of Joe McKeown.

Joe, who died peacefully on Monday in Craigavon Area Hospital at the age of 84 years old, devoted much of his life between family and motorsport.

His passion and dedication to the promotion of motorsport in various forms will be recognised by a motorcycle escort from his Bleary home to Knocknamuckley Parish Church. The touching tribute has been suggested by Joe’s family as a fitting expression of his devotion to motorsport in general and, in particular, the Tandragee 100 road race.

“Joe was known around the world of motorsport as ‘Mr North Armagh’ due to his connection to the club across decades,” said North Armagh Motorcycle and Car Club Ltd’s Ian Forsythe. “I was persuaded to join the club in the 1970s by Joe and he was known for his tireless commitment to promoting motorsport.

“His love covered all forms of the sport and Joe’s drive helped North Armagh introduce additional sections for juniors, karts and quads.

“The Tandragee 100 was a particular passion, with Joe a founding member and president of the supporters’ club.

“The supporters’ club managed to generate thousands of pounds each year towards the operation of the road race and, to be frank, the Tandragee 100 could not have survived without that financial backing.

“However, it was typical of Joe’s enthusiasm and he directed that positive approach into every area of his life.

“Some of his other many interests included membership of the Ulster Grand Prix Supporters’ Club, fund-raising for the Masonic Lodge’s charitable groups and support of the Alzheimer’s Society.

“Of course, his family remained Joe’s greatest source of pride and passion.

“He was extremely devoted to his late wife Ena, daughters Jeanette, Venita, Diane and Lorraine, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

The escort is scheduled to leave Dean’s Road in Bleary at 1.15, with the funeral from 2.30.

Full tribute next week.