Farewell to Cecil Mathers

The chief executive of the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters Association (NIMEA), Cecil Mather, died at his home on Saturday 7 October.

Chairman of NIMEA, Campbell Tweedie, said: "While nothing can compare with the grief being experienced by the family, all of his members are absolutely devastated. Cecil was much more than a capable chief executive and a superb meat industry professional; he was a genuine friend to all members as well."

Tweedie said Cecil's career with the Department of Agriculture began in the Entomology Division in 1962 but his career in meat really began on joining the Fatstock Division of the Department in 1966. He took early retirement in 1991 and established his own consultancy business, providing a chief executive service to NIMEA.

Tweedie said it was in his new career that Cecil would make a memorable contribution to the meat industry and his dealing with the BSE crisis of 1996, was particularly notable.

Paul Wilkinson, chairman of Improve, said: "Cecil had served as a board member of Improve since June 2003 and played a key part in the formation of the company's role as a Sector Skills Council.

"His vast experience and knowledge have been invaluable in helping Improve to establish itself so quickly within the food and drink manufacturing community and specifically in Northern Ireland.

"His loss has come as a great shock, and his knowledge, experience and presence will be missed." Cecil's wife Phyllis predeceased him a number of years ago and he is survived by his sons Ian, Bryan, Trevor and daughter Sandra as well as brothers Ernest and Kenneth and mother Elizabeth.