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He lived life to the full: Family tributes after tragic death of Northern Ireland businessman Ivan Bradshaw

By Brett Campbell

The devastated family of a popular Co Fermanagh businessman believe he died of natural causes before the lawnmower he was riding tumbled on top of him.

Ivan Bradshaw was cutting the grass in the grounds of his Drumhoney Caravan Park in Lisnarick on Friday evening when the freak accident happened.

It is understood that park residents witnessed the horror unfold just before 8pm before raising the alarm.

Sadly, the emergency crews who rushed to the scene were unable to save the father-of-three.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His son, Peter Bradshaw, told the Belfast Telegraph that the family are taking some comfort from autopsy indications that he died naturally before the horrific fall.

"We have been informed that he died of natural causes and we believe he would have been dead before the tumble," he said.

Speaking on behalf of the entire family, Peter paid tribute to his larger than life dad.

"My father was a massive personality and someone who can never be replaced," he said.

"He lived a colourful life and he lived it to the full. He will be greatly missed as a businessman, a community and charity activist, but most of all as a husband, a father, a grandfather, a son and a brother."

Peter also paid tribute to his dad's determination to succeed.

"He encountered many difficulties and problems that would have put other people off, but not Ivan," he said.

"He just persevered and nothing and no one would ever stop him."

Peter said the entire community had lost a good friend who was appreciated for his "straight talking and upfront approach".

The chairman of Lisnarick Football Club, Steven Ormsby, said that people from far and wide have offered their condolences, which bears testimony to the type of man Ivan was.

"We are all deeply devastated by his loss and there has been an outpouring of grief following this tragedy," he said.

"We have members as far away as Canada and they have expressed their complete shock and sadness."

Mr Ormsby told the Belfast Telegraph that although Ivan's first love was rugby, the prominent businessman was always a great supporter and sponsor of his local football club.

"He was passionate about his community and almost saw Lisnarick as a brand," he said.

"He had a clear vision to develop and connect the village. Anything he could do to support the community, he would do it - that's what Ivan was all about.

"In all my dealings with him he was always very pleasant, but he was also very direct which I found refreshing and I always enjoyed talking to him because of that."

Friend and local MP Tom Elliott also expressed his sadness following the tragic death of the "well-known and well-liked" businessman.

"Ivan was a very straightforward guy and really well thought of," the UUP MP said.

"He was a very genuine guy who didn't always tell you what you wanted to hear, but told you what you needed to hear.

"That kind of honesty and forthrightness was appreciated by a lot of people and will be greatly missed."

Fermanagh and South Tyrone UUP MLA Rosemary Barton expressed "profound sadness and shock" following the incident and praised Ivan's generosity.

She described him as "a big man with an even bigger heart" who just earlier this week "was his usual smiling, happy self".

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