Friday 19 October 2018

'He's the most gentle giant you'd ever meet' - Family of Ophelia victim Michael Pyke pay emotional tribute

Family pay emotional tribute to 'gentle giant' Michael Pyke (31)

Michael Pyke, who was killed during storm Ophelia
Michael Pyke, who was killed during storm Ophelia
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

The brother of a man who died as a result of Storm Ophelia paid an emotional tribute to "a great man" today.

The second tragic death caused by Ophelia occurred at around 12.30pm in Cahir, Co Tipperary.

Tipperary man Michael Pyke (31) was attempting to clear a fallen tree when the tragedy occurred.

Gardai believe that Mr Pyke was attempting to move the tree on the Cahir to Ardfinnan road, when another tree collapsed and struck him on the head.

Tributes have been paid to three victims who lost their lives in Storm Ophelia related incidents: Fintan Goss, Michael Pyke and Clare O’Neill
Tributes have been paid to three victims who lost their lives in Storm Ophelia related incidents: Fintan Goss, Michael Pyke and Clare O’Neill

Emergency services were called but Mr Pyke was pronounced dead at the scene.

Speaking today, Michael's brother Philip said Michael "was out doing good."

"He was trying to do good," Philip told RTE Radio One's News at One.

"He was trying to open the road that was closed.

Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen trees Marina Park, Cork City
Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen trees Marina Park, Cork City Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen tree Knocknaheeny, Cork City Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Advertising hoarding is ripped off during Storm Ophelia near Kent Station Cork city. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
City council workers begin the clean up begins following Storm Ophelia, Cork city. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
City council workers begin the clean up begins following Storm Ophelia, Cork city. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Douglas Community School sports hall roof which was ripped off during Storm Ophelia, Cork city. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen trees, N25 Cork City Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen trees, N25 Cork City Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
Hurricane 'Ophelia'.... fallen tree Knocknaheeny, Cork City Pic Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision
City council workers begin the clean up begins following Storm Ophelia, Cork city. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
City council workers begin the clean up begins following Storm Ophelia, Cork city. Pic Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

"He would help a lot of people, he was a great man, a big strong man.

"Michael was bigger than me," Philip continued, growing emotional.

"I'm six foot, he's six foot two, he's the most gentle giant you'd ever meet.

"He'd take his heart out of his chest and give it to you if he could.

"You could ring him at 3 or 4am, and I've done it, I was broke down and he was there 10 minutes afterwards."

Another family member told the programme that Michael did not leave the house with the intention to clear the tree, but rather had decided to do a good dead in the height of the storm.

"The tree just came down in a freak accident, you can't put it into words," he said.

Michael's sister Linda said that "everyone loved Michael."

"It's so sad to think he's gone," she said.

"It's horrible. So many people love him. I hope this treasure him and keep him in their mind forever.

"He was the apple of my dad's eye," she added.

Details of Michael's funeral have also been announced this afternoon.

He will be reposing at his home No.1 St. Joseph's Avenue, Cahir Rd., Ardfinnan on Wednesday evening from 4pm to 8pm.

Funeral mass will be at the Church of the Holy Family, Ardfinnan on Thursday at 11.00am with burial afterwards in the St. Finnian's Cemetery.

The first fatality as a result of the storm occurred at approximately 11.40am outside Aglish village, in Co Waterford.

Clare O’Neill (58) died after the car she was driving was struck by a tree. She was due to celebrate her 59th birthday on Tuesday October 17.

Ms O’Neill’s mother, who is in her 70s, was a passenger in the car and was injured during the incident and was transferred to Waterford Regional Hospital.

Her injuries have been described as non-life threatening.

Clare O’Neill worked as an oncology nurse for over three decades and recently worked as Cancer Support Co-Ordinator with the Cork ARC Cancer Support House.

"She was a very jolly woman, very helpful," local shopkeeper Richard Hurley said.

"It’s a big shock, it’s a miserable morning, a young woman like that (dying) in such a tragic accident."

Meanwhile, at approximately 2.45pm a serious road traffic collision occurred in the Ravensdale area of Dundalk, Co Louth.

Fintan Goss, who was aged in his 30s, was the driver of a vehicle when it was struck by a tree. It is believed the married father-of-two had been travelling home early from work due to the storm when tragedy struck.

Mr Goss lived in Ravensdale with his wife and children.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News