Belfast Telegraph

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Funerals take place for tragic work colleagues who died together

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 08/12/2015

A Priest at St Mary's Church Rasharkin leads family members of the late Conor McKeown who died suddenly as he came across a RTA on the outskirts of Portglenone on Friday. Mr McKeown was a Managing Director of a Turkey Farm.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
A Priest at St Mary's Church Rasharkin leads family members of the late Conor McKeown who died suddenly as he came across a RTA on the outskirts of Portglenone on Friday. Mr McKeown was a Managing Director of a Turkey Farm.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.
An order of service for the late Conor McKeown.PICTURE MARK JAMIESON.

A company boss and the employee he desperately tried to save after she was seriously injured in a horrific car crash were both laid to rest in separate funerals yesterday.

Mourners gathered in Rasharkin and Ballymoney in Co Antrim to pay their respects to Primrose Campbell and Conor McKeown.

Ms Campbell (58), from Ballymoney, died from injuries sustained in an early morning collision last Friday, while Mr McKeown died from a heart attack at the scene.

The 46-year-old businessman and father of three went to her rescue after hearing the crash near the entrance to his chicken factory where she had worked for the last 15 years. He made several frantic attempts to resuscitate her before he himself collapsed and died from a heart attack.

Ms Campbell's car had been involved in a two-car collision outside McKeown Fine Foods as the mother of three and grandmother was travelling to work at around 6.30am.

Mr McKeown ran the successful business with his brother Damian for over 25 years, and lived on the family's chicken farm beside the processing factory. The brothers were described as "soul mates" by family friend, Father Liam Blayney.

They employed around 100 staff, and double that number during the busy Christmas period.

Fr Blayney, who led the requiem mass for Mr McKeown at St Mary's Church, Rasharkin, told the Belfast Telegraph how Mr McKeown had rushed to help his employee but after several attempts to resuscitate her, collapsed in front of his father who also came to help.

He said: "He and his brother Damian were marvellously competent and dedicated to their business. Part of the success of the business was the relationship they had with each other and their employees. They were soul mates and very fair employers to their staff."

He added that Mr McKeown was a dedicated family man to his wife Grainne and sons Jonathan, James and David.

Rev Hugh Cubitt from St James Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney led prayers at Ms Campbell's home yesterday and afterwards as her remains were interred at Kilraughts Presbyterian churchyard.

He said: "She was a hard-working woman who was happy at her work in McKeowns and who dedicated her life to her children Angela, Neil and Stewart, and her grandchildren, who will greatly miss her."

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