Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Fall victim was pals with missing Martin

Mother reveals heartache after son's holiday tradegy

Tragic Ibiza holiday apartment fall victim Clifford Forde was best friends with missing Holywood man Martin Kelly, Sunday Life can reveal.

Devastated mum Christine Forde yesterday told how her family were now sharing a common grief with their old neighbours - the loss of a young loved one.

Clifford Forde (21) died last Thursday evening on the holiday island of Ibiza - after a terrifying tumble from the fourth floor of an apartment block in San Antonio.

The tragic accident comes just months after Holywood barman Martin Kelly disappeared without trace in the Belfast docks area on New Year's Day.

Mum-of-five Christine said: "Clifford and Martin were best friends. He was really cut up about Martin when he disappeared.

"He went to all of the nights in memory of Martin and we all went out on the searches."

The Forde family hit out at Spanish news reports which suggested that he may have died, while drunkenly trying to jump from one apartment balcony to another.

The family say Clifford, an accounts technician, had not touched alcohol after a recent operation to remove his tonsils and had been suffering from sunstroke, sustained during his first holiday away without his family.

His dad, Sam, said: "There has been so much speculation in the Press about what happened to him - speculation which is rubbish and has been pretty devastating to us.

"First of all, he had not been drinking because he was on antibiotics after the operation to take out his tonsils. His throat was inflamed and he was on antibiotics.

"He had been feeling unwell before leaving here but decided to go ahead with the holiday, as he'd saved up for so long for it.

"Then he got a touch of sunstroke out there. His friends have told us that he was actually lying on his back in the apartment for two days and couldn't even go out.

"He used to work with me, roofing, and he was always really, really careful and knew about the danger with heights."

Younger sister Stacey continued: "His balcony was on the corner of the apartment block and there was no other balcony near. So, he couldn't have jumped.

"As far as we know, what happened was that he leaned around to call out to his friends that he wasn't feeling well, when he fell."

Eldest sister Tanya and her husband, who flew out to Ibiza after the holiday tragedy, also discovered another heartbreaking fact - that ill Clifford had his bags packed and was ready to come home.

The family revealed that the Farmlea Foods accounts technician, who was studying to be an accountant, had been named after an uncle, who also died an untimely death - after being fatally struck by a snapped barge rope at the age of 18.

In yet another tragic twist of fate, Christine told how they knew what sort of funeral Clifford wanted - as a result of a mother/son chat, less than three months ago.

Said Christine: "I actually had a conversation with him 10 weeks ago when a friend's granny died.

"He said to me, 'What's going to happen to me when I die? What are you going to do?'. We laughed and joked about it. But then I asked him what he would like us to do and he told me that he would like to be cremated."

Tragically, the Forde family will soon be carrying out the "quiet and easy going" man's wishes - with cremation at Roselawn Cemetery, following a funeral service at the local Church Of Ireland church later this week.

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