Farming

| 13.3°C Dublin

Farming community shocked by the death of border farmer killed in tragic accident

Close

David Crockett from Londonderry who died in a farming accident

David Crockett from Londonderry who died in a farming accident

David Crockett from Londonderry who died in a farming accident

The death of a well-known and highly respected Derry farmer - described in tributes as one of life's wonderful characters - has left his grief-stricken family stunned, his minister and friend has said.

David Crockett is understood to have died at the family farm on the Coshquin Road near the border when he fell through the roof of an outbuilding.

It is believed Mr Crockett's son Gordon was also involved in the accident although his injuries are not believed to be serious.

The Health and Safety Executive is conducting an investigation into Mr Crockett's death.

He was a popular member of the farming community on both sides of the Irish border, with his land straddling the border in counties Londonderry and Donegal.

Mr Crockett was a well-known voice on the radio, contributing to debates concerning rural affairs and Brexit.

Paying tribute, Rev Jim Lamont, minister of Burt Presbyterian Church, said the devastating loss of Mr Crockett will be felt far and wide.

He said: "I visited Margaret and the family and they are just in a state of sheer shock, they are stunned by the enormity of what has happened - just shattered. It will take them a long time to come to terms with what has happened.

"David's death has been such a shock to the whole community - he was just a man who was loved, respected and had a great sense of humour.

"He was a dedicated family man first and foremost but we are all in sorrow because he was a man with a warm personality and kind nature who stood ready to help anyone who needed help.

"He was a faithful member of our church and of the choir. I always met him coming into church and he always had some little story or something to joke about. He was just an amazing person - one of life's characters."

Mr Crockett, whose farm has been in the family since 1911, was a lifelong friend of Gordon Elder. He said not being able to pay his final respects because of the restrictions on funerals due to coronavirus has deepened everyone's sorrow.

He said: "I have known David a lifetime and knew his father before him - our families go back a long way.

"David was a great storyteller - a gift he took from his own father and he loved nothing better than to recall stories of growing up on the farm, of schools days, everything really.

"David was irreplaceable and his loss will be deeply felt not just within the farming community but by everyone who knew him.

"David's son Gordon was on my farm last Saturday shearing sheep and he was telling me how the Young Farmers Club had raised money for the Air Ambulance with little idea that two days later the Air Ambulance would be called to his own farm.

"I am devastated about David's death but above all my heart is sore for his wife Margaret and the family.

"The natural thing for me to do would have been to go and visit them and tell them how sorry I am but we can't do that.

"The coronavirus restrictions that are on us now means that we cannot do what we would by nature do at a sad time like this.

"Donegal people are well known for their attendance at funerals and I have no doubt hundreds of people will want to pay their last respects to David Crockett because he was so highly thought of by everyone.

"I know we are not suppose to question why things happen but it is at times like this - you have to wonder."

The county chairman of the Irish Farmers' Union also offered his condolences to Mrs Crockett.

Brendan McLaughlin said: "On behalf of everyone in the Irish Farmers' Union, our sympathy and heartfelt prayers are with Mrs Crockett and their family.

"Our condolences are offered too to David's two brothers, John and Robert, who are also members of the Co Donegal farming community who are all shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy."

He was a regular contributor to Radio Foyle's Mark Patterson Show.

Mr Patterson said he too was saddened to hear of Mr Crockett's passing, saying: "Davy had a tragic farming accident last night. Down the years, he had become part of the BBC Radio Foyle family.

"A warm, generous man with a huge personality."

The PSNI said the death is not being treated as suspicious.

Funeral arrangements for Mr Crockett will be announced later.

Belfast Telegraph