Jim Maxwell: Man killed after being struck by car in west Belfast was a 'real gentleman'
Tributes have been paid to an "absolute gentleman" killed after being struck by a car in west Belfast.
Jim Maxwell, known locally as Maxie, died while walking near the Park Centre shopping mall on the Donegall Road at around 7.30pm on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old was the 73rd person to die on Northern Ireland's roads this year.
His death came 12 hours after another pedestrian was involved in a fatal collision with a lorry outside Moira in Co Down.
Mr Maxwell had been making a trip to his local credit union when the accident occurred. A local St John's Ambulance representative stopped to try to help the pensioner but was unable to revive Mr Maxwell. Sinn Fein representative Breige Brownlee, who knew Mr Maxwell, was at the scene of the accident shortly after it happened.
She said his wife Celia and family were "absolutely devastated" at the loss but being well supported by neighbours and friends at their home in the St James's Road area.
"They are long-term residents here, lovely people inside and out," she said. "They are very well-known in the area. Maxie was always very active in the community. During the days of the conflict he was always there for them. Everybody knew Maxie, you would have seen him out with his wee dog.
"There was always a 'good morning' for everybody, a smile for everybody."
Although Mr Maxwell was regularly seen out walking his dog, Ms Brownlee said he was on his own on this occasion.
Having known Mr Maxwell since she was a child, Ms Brownlee said she had many fond memories.
"His house was always like Santa's Grotto at Christmas," she said.
"He loved this time of year. Celia is absolutely devastated. She is so sad and yet so dignified."
Sinn Fein MLA Fra McCann said Mr Maxwell was a much-loved resident of the St James's area. Describing the collision as a "terrible tragedy", Mr McCann said on his Facebook page: "Maxie Maxwell was a lovely and much respected member of the community. My thoughts and prayers are with the Greater St James's community and the Maxwell family tonight."
The cause of the collision is yet to be established but Mr McCann called for caution on the roads.
"Of all places, this accident happened right beside a damaged street lamp," he said.
"Please be careful when crossing, ensure there are no cars approaching. Also for motorists - drive slower. You never know what can happen."
West Belfast Sinn Fein MP Paul Maskey also paid tribute.
"My thoughts go to this gentleman's family," he said.
"There's no good time of the year for anyone to be knocked down, but especially this time of year just adds that extra bit of sadness."
Social media was also flooded with tributes to Mr Maxwell.
Mary Jo Mervyn wrote on Mr McCann's Facebook page: "Devastating news, Maxie was an absolute gentleman. Thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time."
Deirdre Rooney wrote: "RIP Maxie a real gentleman, thoughts and prayers are with the family."
Community worker Eoin McShane knew Mr Maxwell and tweeted that he was "absolutely devastated" at the death of a man he described as "one of life's true and most genuine gentlemen".
Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision to contact them on 101.