Tributes paid to prominent NI farmer killed in accident

Warm tributes have been made to a well-known and highly respected farmer who was killed in an accident on his farm in Northern Ireland.

David Crockett died at his farm located on Coshquin Road in Londonderry, close to the border with County Donegal, at about 5pm on Monday (8 June).

It is understood that Mr Crockett fell through the roof of a farm shed. His son Gordon was also injured.

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The Health and Safety Executive in Northern Ireland said it was aware of the incident and was making enquiries. “Our thoughts are with the deceased family at this tragic time,” said a spokesman.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said Mr Crockett’s death is not being treated as suspicious.

Father-of-three Mr Crockett was a well-respected member of the farming community and a familiar voice on BBC Radio Foyle, often providing commentary on farming and rural issues. He had frequently spoken out about Brexit and said his greatest concern was a hard border between the UK and Ireland.

BBC Radio Foyle presenter Mark Patterson said everyone who knew Mr Crockett had been left “numbed” by the tragic news of his death.

Paying tribute to him on his Facebook page, Mr Patterson wrote: “I’m deeply saddened today to report the passing of local farmer Davy Crockett.

“Davy had a tragic farm accident at home last evening. Down the years, he had become part of our broadcast family.

“One day back in 2017 we took the whole show out to the farm for a special outside broadcast. Davy treated us all to strong tea, fresh brown bread and jam.

“The border runs right through the Crockett family farm, and down the years Davy often brought his unique colour and understanding to bear on air when it came to complex matters like the border and Brexit.

“That aside, he was a wonderful man; devoted to his family, strong handed, warm and funny. You met Davy once and never forgot the encounter.

“All of us who worked with Davy are numbed today. We extend our sincere condolences to the Crockett family and wider circle. May he rest in peace.”

‘True gentleman’

Dozens more tributes were posted on the Facebook thread and on Twitter.

Family friend Sylvia Rankin said: “Words can’t express the heartfelt sadness of losing such a dear and precious friend. David was simply ‘everyone’s friend’, a true county gentleman, full of fun and laughter who adored his lovely family as they did him.

“Lots of love and sympathy to Margaret, Gordon, Lewis, Rebecca, and the entire family circle.”

Neighbour Aisling Marie McClelland said: “My heart is breaking. Such a gentleman. Still doesn’t feel real. Lifelong neighbours, [it] will be strange not passing him on the roads/fields.

“Thinking about Margaret, Gordon, Lewis and Rebecca at this time. One of the most genuine, caring families I know… and David’s hearty laugh will never be forgotten. RIP XX.”

Funeral arrangements for Mr Crockett will be forthcoming.