22 May 2022

Longford Ploughing fondly remembers departed friends

The late Bertie Mills (centre), with his wife Edre and Jack Mills at the 2015 Longford Novice Ploughing event Picture: Michelle Ghee

Late Bertie Mills

With sadness we learned of the passing of our Vice President Bertie Mills on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. A warm-hearted gentleman and a font of knowledge, Bertie always delighted in sharing his time and resourceful ideas.

Bertie bought his first tractor in 1950 and started building an agricultural contractor business around Longford and Westmeath.

Starting from scratch, Bertie and his wife Edre developed a successful dairy herd on the home farm at Clonbrin while continuing to expand the machinery business year by year.

Bertie did all the ploughing with horses at home from an early age, due to his father’s ailing health. He spent many a tough day as a youngster struggling with a stubborn horse. This premature baptism of fire in his tender years, gave Bertie the mettle to shoulder any challenge.

A community man at heart he was instrumental in the development of Abbeyshrule’s new airport, the restoration of the Royal Canal and branch chairman of the IFA.

Bertie ploughed in the renowned ploughing match hosted by Joe de Kellog in the Rampark in Kenagh in 1960.

He took great pride in organising Irelands first ever novice ploughing event on his home farm at Clonbrin, Abbeyshrule in 1986.

This event took place on the morning of Saturday, March 22, 1986, before the County Ploughing Championships that afternoon.

The first pupils were his son Neville with a Ford 5000, Thomas Donegan driving an Ursus 3512, David McCormack on an International 444, Gavin White on a MF 148 and Niall Whitney had a MF 35.

Bertie and his lifelong friend Ploughing Chair Raymond White organised trips to the Smithfield Show in 1990 & 1991 and they enjoyed tours of Oxford Street and the landmarks of London.

Bertie loved restoring and tinkering with his fleet of vintage machinery. He was a founding member of Lakeland Vintage Club and hosted Abbeyshrule’s first Vintage Rally.

Together, Bertie and his wife Edre, worked passionately for Longford Ploughing Association. Edre gave fifteen years of unbroken service as our Treasurer.

Each year Edre makes the Sash for presenting to the winner of the Queen of the Plough competition.

Sincere sympathy to Edre, Jennifer, Barbara, Neville & Bertie’s extended family.

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