TV actor dies in Achill flood after car is swept away in 'tropical-style' downpour
Published 15/09/2015 | 02:30
A man has told of how he waded into flood waters in a bid to save a TV actor whose car was swept away in a "tropical-style" downpour.
Anglican minister Roger Grainger had appeared in a number of hit television programmes including 'Emmerdale', 'Heartbeat' and 'Last of the Summer Wine'.
He had been a visitor to Mayo for more than 40 years and had only weeks ago bought a cottage at Doogort on Achill Island.
The 81-year-old, who was originally from Lancashire, died on Sunday night as he drove home from dinner at a local guesthouse.
A flash flood swept his car into a ditch and the semi- retired minister died at the scene in one of a number of incidents throughout the country during a weekend of torrential downpours.
Read more: Now get ready for the blast of Henri
Paul McNamara, a local councillor and a friend of Mr Grainger, tried to rescue his neighbour.
He said: "I carry a life vest in my car and I put it on me and waded into the water.
"The road was submerged in water. It has flooded before, but never to this extent. Elderly residents said they had never seen a flood like it here.
"Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do. People are in deep shock at the loss of a gentleman who has been coming here for decades."
Church of Ireland minister Rev Val Rogers said Mr Grainger was "a dynamo" who had been seconded to the Tuam diocese to help him at services on the island.
"Roger had a great love for the west of Ireland. He decided to move over permanently and he had just bought a little house close to our church five to six weeks ago," he said.
"He had been out for dinner and was driving home when his car was lifted off the road and into a ditch. The torrent was tropical, a dreadful flash flood that had gone just a couple of hours later."
Mr Grainger had completed seven degrees and had just been accepted on another course at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
"He was an absolutely dynamo, a former actor with the Old Vic," said Mr Rogers.
"He had been a psychotherapist and a chaplain in psychiatric hospitals. He was an extraordinary man."
Mr Grainger appeared alongside Michael Palin last year in the TV mini-series 'Remember Me'.
Gardaí are trying to trace his relatives in the UK.