Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Hundreds are expected for drowned admiral’s funeral

Tragic: Duncan McInnes with his pet dog, whose body was recovered alongside his master from Groomsport harbour last weekend

Hundreds are expected to attend the funeral of the north Down sailor who tragically drowned at Groomsport harbour last weekend.

The service for the well-known seafarer, 84-year-old Duncan McInnes, will take place this Friday, August 6, at Ballyholme Methodist Church.

He is to be buried at Roselawn Cemetery in Belfast.

Sam Andrews, club honorary secretary of Cockle Island boat club, where Mr Innes was a founding member, said: “He was a very well-liked wee man. He sailed his yacht, the Talisman, everywhere, mostly on his own.”

He added: “Last year we made him admiral of the club as a token of our esteem for his contribution to it.

“Little did anyone know that it was to be a short tenure and the club, along with all those who knew him, have been shocked at his sudden and tragic death.”

In an obituary released by Cockle Island boat club, Mr McInnes was described as “a man of considerable talent”.

He had studied at Belfast Art College and exhibited many of his paintings, particularly those of the old square rigged sailing vessels of a bygone era.

Mr McInnes drowned on Sunday, August 1, after his dinghy capsized in Groomsport harbour. The body of his pet collie, who was with him when he died, was also recovered. The coastguard and Bangor lifeboat were involved in the operation.

North Down DUP MLA Alex Easton was among those to pay tribute to Mr McInnes.

“He was a pillar of the local community and very passionate about boats and sailing. He will be greatly missed by the people of Groomsport,” he said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time, as are those of the entire local community.”

Groomsport councillor Alan Chambers said: “There is a great sense of numbness and shock amongst the community in the village. This shock is shared by those who use the boating facilities in Groomsport.

“He was a polite, quiet and unassuming person who lived for his interest in the sea and boats.

“Sailing was a passion he shared with his many friends who have boats moored at Groomsport and his daily presence in the village, particularly around the harbour, will be sadly missed.”

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