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Family’s moving tribute to dinghy tragedy father

A man who drowned in a tragic boating accident on Strangford Lough has been described as a wonderful husband and father.

Ken Dorman (51), from Dundonald, was sailing with a close family friend and his two children when their dinghy capsized on Saturday morning.

Mr Dorman, who had been wearing a lifejacket and was an experienced sailor, was pulled from the water unconscious and despite efforts to revive him on the shore the father-of-two died at the Ulster Hospital later.

Dave Allen and his two children, aged six and four, were physically unhurt during the accident.

Mystery still surrounds the circumstances of his death. It is not known if his buoyancy aid malfunctioned or if Mr Dorman was unable to inflate it when he was thrown into the water.

In a statement released last night, Mr Dorman’s heartbroken family said he died doing something he loved.

“Ken was sailing last Saturday with a close family friend and his children on Strangford Lough. They had learned to sail there and were experienced, with both having been involved in capsizes before,” the statement read.

“We are not sure how Ken died but we know he was doing something he loved and was with a close friend.

“He was a wonderful husband and father and though the family are grieving, we are thankful that he has a place in heaven. We are so thankful for the safety of the children and Ken’s friend Dave and we really appreciate the help of Newtownards Sailing Club and all the rescue services.

“Ken leaves a broad legacy among his many friends in business, church and family.

“He will be greatly missed and the family’s wish is to move on, concentrating on the many positive aspects of Ken’s life and ministry.”

The tragedy unfolded as the group were enjoying a day of |sailing ahead of the annual Newtownards Sailing Club Regatta, which was cancelled as a mark of respect.

The Portaferry lifeboat, Coastguard and three ambulances rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised by members of a |sailing club who saw the Laser 2000 dinghy overturn.

Strangford MP Jim Shannon was among the politicians to express sympathy to Mr Dorman’s widow Janice, son Keith and daughter Rachael.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family, his wife and children,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“My prayers are with them too. At times like this you need the help of the community and I hope that the community in Dundonald and indeed Ards, where the tragedy happened, will rally round the family.”

It is understood a funeral service will be held for Mr Dorman at Strandtown Baptist Church tomorrow morning.

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