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Family struggling to cope with loss of Co Antrim father killed in quad bike crash

By Claire McNeilly

Published 15/06/2015

Concern: Jim Allister
Concern: Jim Allister

The heartbroken family of a Co Antrim man who was killed in a quad bike accident is finding it almost immpossible to cope with his death.

Wilson Bonnar, (61), a van driver, died in an off-road incident in Glenwherry, between Ballymena and Ballyclare.

The part-time farmer is understood to have been spraying weeds when the vehicle overturned at his Douglas Road home on June 10.

Some six hundred people attended his funeral at 3pm yesterday at Glenwherry Presbyterian Church. Around 350 mourners were seated inside the church, 250 others used the nearby church hall, while the remainder of those who had gone to pay their respects remained in the courtyard outside.

Rev Noel Mulholland, who led the service, said Mr Bonnar's death had come as a great shock to his family and friends.

"The family have my prayer support and the prayer support of the wider Christian community in this area," he said.

"We will be praying for them much in the days that lie ahead and I would encourage anyone who has any Christian faith to pray for them because it is such a huge blow for them."

Mr Bonnar is survived by his 91-year-old mother Minne, his wife of 17 years Mandy and sons Houston (17) and 15-year-old Richard.

The Bonnar family has close connections to the church and the boys are members of the Glenwherry Boys Brigade.

Mr Bonnar, who had been a driver for a number of companies since he left school, liked horses and enjoyed attending horse shows. His family is understood to be very well known in farming circles.

A rapid response crew from the Ambulance Service attended the scene last Wednesday but medics were unable to save him.

TUV leader Jim Allister, who lives in the area, said Mr Bonnar's death was "a desperate tragedy".

"To find that a quad bike is involved in another death points at the danger that even those things that seem relatively innocuous can pose great threat," he said.

"We all need to remind ourselves that common, everyday practices can have hidden dangers."

There have been several tragic accidents in Northern Ireland involving quad bikes over the years.

In 2012, a pensioner in his 70s died after losing control of a quad bike in Trillick, Co Tyrone.

Three years earlier, a 14-year-old boy was killed instantly when a quad crashed into a concrete pillar near Maghera.

A seven-year-old girl died in 2004 when the quad bike on which she was riding hit a wall in Carrickfergus.

Meanwhile, a Co Tyrone teenager who suffered a brain injury following a quad accident launched a road safety DVD last year.

Rebekah Glass (18) had part of her brain removed and suffered a stroke after the quad she was riding crashed three years ago.

Belfast Telegraph

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