‘Mullingar was his passion’ – Dr Trevor Winckworth remembered
On May 26, 2003, Mullingar awoke to the news that Dr Trevor Winckworth, one of its old guard and stalwarts, had passed away.
In the intervening years, the town has moved on and many people will be unaware of his lasting legacy. A tribute has been placed subtly in what was the Winckworth family home and Winckworth’s Pharmacy, at 10 Oliver Plunkett Street, next door to Swarbrigg shoes.
Jack Winckworth first opened the pharmacy in 1919 and his son Trevor, having studied medicine at Trinity Collage Dublin, moved back to set up in general practice, operating from the house from 1953. Linked to the medical practice, Trevor also obtained an MPSI qualification, allowing him to operate the chemist shop alongside his medical practice.
It was so that Dr Trevor and his new wife Olive set up home and business from number 10 and their legacy in the heart of the town would unfold over the next 50 years or so.
The memory of Trevor reads like a novel littered with key events and happenings that are cemented in the fabric of the town. Trevor also became a keen historian as he relayed stories and facts about the people of Mullingar and its surrounding areas.
A keen sportsman in his youth, he became involved in the founding committee of the Lough Owel Swimming Club to build what is now the diving boards at Portnashangan. Later in the 70s, he, along with others such as Dr Martin Waldron and John McGrath, led the committee to raise funds for the construction of Mullingar’s indoor swimming pool in the Town Park.
In the late 70s, he proudly oversaw the opening of Mullingar Rugby Club’s new clubhouse and pitches at Cullion. A painting adorns the wall specially commissioned by members in memory of his unfailing dedication to the club.
Shortly before his untimely passing, Trevor spoke of the great personal satisfaction he derived from his medical career, and helping fellow Mullingar people. In particular, he spoke at length about the return of the soldiers who were involved in the Siege of Jadotville in the Congo in 1961.
As the movie The Siege of Jadotville so vividly depicted, there were difficult times for several of the soldiers before the issue of post-traumatic stress was ever heard of. Dr Trevor was right at the heart of organising medical help and assistance for those men. In gratitude for his services, the retired soldiers of the UN based in Mullingar in 2003 posthumously presented his wife Olive with a gold medal of service in memory of Trevor.
Mullingar was Trevor’s passion, Mullingar was his life and on that Saturday morning as he popped off for a short stop at the Liffey Valley Shopping Centre on route to the Heineken Cup rugby final at the old Lansdowne Road, he took ill. Two days later the Great Architect of the Universe called him up to Heaven.
It’s exactly 20 years later that Leinster will again be in the Heineken cup final at Lansdowne Road.
No doubt that Trevor, along with his late wife Olive (who passed away in 2014) will be watching raising a gin and tonic in support.
He is 20 years gone, but still remembered so fondly by all who knew and loved him in the town.