Celebration of Will Costain's life

WILL Costain, farmer, sportsman, businessman, died at the age of 70 after a brave battle against cancer.

Following a funeral earlier in the day a service to celebrate his life was held in Arbory Parish Church, which was packed to overflowing.

He was the 15th generation of his family to farm at Ballachrink, Colby, where he grew up as the only boy in the family with three sisters, Ella, Jane and the late Isobel.

Will's service was attended by the Lieutenant Governor Sir Paul Haddacks and Lady Haddacks and by former Island residents and family friends, poet and entertainer Pam Ayres, and former chief constable Robin Oake and Mrs Oake.

As a member of the Southern Young Farmers' Club he competed in most of its events, being particularly expert in livestock judging, where he represented the Isle of Man in the UK, ploughing and sheep shearing and reached the pinnacle in the movement when he was elected chairman of the all Island Federation in 1964.

Moving on to the Manx National Farmers' Union he was chairman of the Arbory branch and a council delegate.

Elected to the Agricultural Marketing Society in 1971 he was seconded to the powerful Fatstock Marketing Association which handled all Manx produced meat, remaining in office until 1995.

He served as chairman of the FMA for two years from 1984 and was Society chairman in 1981.

As a director of Agrimark Ltd from 1983 for six years he was active in a company which processed and sold Manx food to the great benefit of farmers and consumers.

Outside of farming Will became an elected member of Arbory Parish commissioners in 1967 serving a 10 year stint.

Standing for the House of Keys in 2000 he finished runner-up to the elected members for Rushen.

He was a marshal and competitor in the Southern 100 motor cycle races, supported Colby Football Club, first as a player, played golf and took an interest in rugby.

The Erin Arts Club was another of his interests and he was a founder member of Rushen Round Table.

'Will lived a full life and was never idle.

'He belonged to Arbory and made a huge contribution to its community,' said president of Tynwald Noel Cringle OBE in his eulogy.

'We grew up together, starting school at the same time and came from a similar farming background.

'Will Costain was a truly remarkable man.'

The service was enlivened by the Manx Jazz Aces playing at the church door for those who managed to squeeze in the pews and for the entertainment of the huge crowd standing in the churchyard on a lovely autumn day.

Will Costain leaves a wife, formerly Hilary Taggart of Baldromma, Lonan and their children Richard and Matthew, and two children, Juan and Jenny from a previous marriage. Will and Hilary suffered a sad loss when their son Tom died suddenly at the age of 19 in Las Vegas while on a trip to the US in July 2007.

The memorial service was conducted by the Reverend Peter Robinson, vicar of Arbory, assisted by Ken Quane and the Reverend David Perkins, with Paul Thompson as organist.

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