Village in mourning after body of dad-of-two recovered from harbour
Published 26/12/2015 | 16:51
A rural village is in mourning after the body of a dad of two was recovered from a submerged car in Ballintoy harbour, Co Antrim.
George Jamieson (61) - who came from the picturesque north coast village - was reported missing to police on Tuesday.
A search of the little harbour was sparked after parts of Mr Jamieson's silver Mercedes SLK convertible car were spotted in the water, including a bumper and number plate.
Described by many as a gentle giant, Mr Jamieson had returned to Northern Ireland from England where he worked to attend a horse fair in Ballymena.
The picturesque harbour in which the convertible car was found has also featured in HBO's epic Game of Thrones series.
The coastguard confirmed they had two teams involved in the searches around Ballintoy Harbour area in a joint venture with police.
Mr Jamieson's body was discovered the day after his eldest son's 27th birthday.
A family member said the village was left "gutted" by his death.
"He was a good, big lad and everyone liked him, he was such a popular figure and flitted between the two licensed premises in Ballintoy.
"He was known by so many," he said. "The village is gutted about this as it's such a tight-knit community."
Independent councillor Padraig McShane said the dad was well-known and liked in the area.
He said: "It is never easy to speak on someone you know following such tragic circumstances.
"But it is only proper to relay that George was a fantastic and extremely popular individual.
"Ballintoy and the wider north Antrim community has been devastated by what has unfolded. We will never see his likes again.
"To his family and wide circle of friends,
"I want to extend my deepest sympathies at this painful time".
Mr Jamieson was also a member of the loyal orders and has previously carried banners for Craigalappin Flute Band and Ballintoy Accordion Band.
Cara McShane, a Sinn Fein councillor in the area, knows his family well.
She told the Belfast Telegraph: "I used to babysit George's youngest son Callum, who is only a teenager himself.
"George is almost like an institution in the village, he is so well-known and well thought of. He was a gentle giant.
"This is the time of year when you would meet the likes of George in the local pub in the village.
"He was so well regarded and liked.
"He lived for those agricultural shows and the Highland show in Scotland and liked the simple, basic lifestyle.
"It's particularly difficult at this time of year when there's those sorts of characters around the village, so it's left a massive hole.
"Everyone is reeling from the news when it broke a few days ago.
"We are all so shocked and he will be sorely missed.
"Our thoughts are with his family and two sons."
PSNI inspector Colin Shaw said: "Police divers involved in searches for missing 61-year-old George Jamieson located a car with the body of a male inside it at Ballintoy harbour late yesterday morning.
"The body has been recovered and efforts are ongoing to recover the vehicle.
"The death is not being treated as suspicious," the poilce spokesman said.