Tuesday 6 December 2016

Tributes paid after equestrian centre boss dies in tragic hunt accident

Allan Preston

Published 27/10/2016 | 08:32

Tragic death: Claire Lowe in competition
Tragic death: Claire Lowe in competition

Tributes have been paid to an equestrian centre boss who died suddenly in a tragic hunting accident on Wednesday afternoon.

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The woman was named locally as Claire Lowe from Saintfield, who was believed to have been in her 30s.

She had been taking part in a hunt in the New Line area of Ballygowan, Co Down when she came off her horse at a fence, and died from her injuries shortly afterwards.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said a rapid response paramedic was called to the incident at around 3.20pm.

However, it was too late to save the popular horse rider, who was well known in the local equestrian scene.

Last night her friend Neil McCluskey paid tribute to her on social media.

“Tragic day today as lost a great friend in a freak hunting accident,” he said.

“Claire Lowe was really an amazing person and will be dearly missed by us all.”

A family friend told the Belfast Telegraph: “She was a very likeable and professional lady.

“It’s dreadful.

“I feel sick thinking about it.”

Ms Lowe had worked as a constable for Lisburn PSNI, but after the death of her father last Christmas — Gerry Lowe, the owner of the successful Lisburn company Lowe Refrigeration — she had returned home to Saintfield to manage the Mill House Equestrian Centre in Saintfield.

Her work involved breeding Connemara ponies as well as running a tack shop business and online auction site.

Many friends had not heard the sad news until late last night, and posted their condolences on social media.

Friend Lynne Spence wrote that Claire had “died doing what she loved”.

She added: “Completely shocked and saddened.

“Cannot get over the sad news.”

Nicci Hall said: “Such a tragic loss of a genuinely lovely person.

“Thinking of all your family and friends.”

Lyndon Steele said: “I can’t believe I’m reading this about such a top girl who’d helped me out more than once when I needed it.

“I will never forget you.”

Joanne Gray commented: “Dreadful news. One of life’s genuinely lovely people.”

Another comment from Heather Brown read: “So sorry for the loss of a dedicated young woman.”

TUV councillor for Comber Stephen Cooper said he was saddened to hear the news after a council meeting last night.

“The hunt’s been around for some time and I would extend my sympathies.”

Belfast Telegraph

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