HERE is one of the world’s most famous horses, ridden by one the most successful jockeys about to pass the finishing post at the Epsom Derby in 2010 - and the man behind the camera was Banbridge’s own Tommy Leckey.
The 68-year-old combined a love of equestrianism with a passion for photography and produced some fantastic pictures as he travelled to races around the UK and Ireland.
Here he has captured jockey Ryan Moore riding his racehorse ‘Workforce’ across the finish line to take victory for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah and trainer Micael Stoute.
Tributes have been paid to Tommy by friends and former colleagues following his death on Sunday at his home in Wyncroft Way in the town.
While his daughter Tanya revealed he never placed a bet on a horse, she said he loved to watch the horses in full flow and took joy in capturing some of the most majestic images.
Leader photographer Michael Cousins said Tommy’s love of equestrianism was second only to a love of his family.
“He would’ve travelled the length and breadth of Ireland to see a race, and it was his genuine interest in horses that allowed him to be a real specialist in that area.
“Aside from the horse racing Tommy loved to talk about his family - especially his three grandchildren, he seemed totally devoted to them. He was a true gentleman.”
As well as horses, Tommy had a great interest in hurling, which he often photographed for various papers, and football, supporting Arsenal Football Club.
Freelance photographer Eddie Byrne said Tommy was a pleasure to work with.
“I have known Tommy for many years and working for rival papers didn’t stop us having a bit of craic when we were out on jobs together. There was always time for a coffee and a chat. He was a very civil man and I very much enjoyed his company.”
Leader editor John Hooks said Tommy’s work for the paper down through the years was much appreciated.
“On behalf of the Leader I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to Tommy’s wife Geraldine, daughter Tanya and the rest of the Leckey family at this time.
“Tommy was a very well-known and well-liked man in the area and he will be sadly missed.”