Lakeland Dairies pays tribute to Robert Skelton

The Chair, Board, CEO and management of Lakeland Dairies have expressed sadness and condolences following the recent death of retired Board member and co-operative stalwart, Robert Skelton from Ballymoney.

Chair of Lakeland Dairies Niall Matthews said: “Robert’s passing away following from a recent illness is very untimely and most deeply regretted by everyone associated with Lakeland Dairies and most particularly by his Board colleagues.

“Robert was a pioneering and progressive farmer whose commitment to dairying and co-operative enterprise in the northern half of the island is immeasurable.

“He played a critical role in not one but two of the largest dairy co-operative mergers ever to take place on the island of Ireland. His vision, foresight and decision making were key in the merger between Ballyrashane and Town of Monaghan Co-ops and, more recently, the merger between LacPatrick and Lakeland Dairies.

Robert Skelton, Ballymoney
Robert Skelton, Ballymoney
Robert Skelton, Ballymoney

“His skills and achievements as a dairy farmer and co-operative leader were complimented very strongly by his great personal kindness, positivity and professionalism.

“Robert strongly and forthrightly represented the best interests of farm families and dairy farming throughout his life.

“Co-operative dairy farming traverses the generations – past, present and future, creating a livelihood for families and contributing to rural economic development and environmental sustainability for the longer term. As a participant in co-operative life and a leader in his role on our current and preceding Boards, Robert has left his farming community, co-operative, colleagues, friends and neighbours in a better place for the benefit of generations to come.

“That is a great legacy for any person and we are very proud to have known Robert as a friend, colleague and contributor to the success of our co-operative.”

Mr Skelton is survived by wife Lorna and children Caroline and Philip as well as his wider family and will also be mourned by many friends in his community and throughout the dairy sector.