Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to ‘wonderful’ dad after icy footpath fall

The elderly man who died after falling on an icy footpath has been described as a wonderful father and excellent neighbour.

Tommy McFarland, a retired Royal Naval petty officer, had been walking his dog in the Lisburn area when he fell on Monday afternoon.

Preliminary post-mortem results suggested the 82-year-old, who was just yards from his home at Lenwood Drive, Dunmurry, suffered a heart attack and despite the desperate resuscitation efforts by neighbours who rushed to his aid, he died at the scene.

It is not known whether Mr McFarland, a grandfather and father-of-three, suffered the cardiac arrest before or after he fell.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Mr McFarland’s daughter Jean declined to comment on the ongoing row over gritting footpaths.

“I would just like to thank all of the people who tried to help my father,” she said.

“The police were extremely good, the two men that went to help him on the street couldn’t have done any more and the Ambulance Service were great.

“He really couldn’t have asked for better help. He obviously had the best of attention.

“We are very grateful to everyone and also to all the kind neighbours who have called with us.

“It has come as a terrible shock to us all.”

It is understood one of Mr McFarland’s two sons lives in Canada and funeral arrangements are on hold until he arrives back home.

“I’ll just remember my dad as a happy, contented easy-going man,” said Jean.

“He kept himself healthy with the walks. He was always out and about and was able to keep himself contented in the house by playing the keyboard and using the computer. He was also a member of the gliding club in Belarena. He was just great for his age — only last week he commented that he was worried because he was starting to forget things, I just laughed and told him I was well ahead of him on that front.

“He lived in Dunmurry all his life and he was very proud of it.

“My mother died four years ago after an illness, so he lived alone.

“He was just devoted to his dog Becky and Becky was devoted to him — she is just lost now, but my brother is going to take her and look after her.”

Meanwhile, neighbours in the quiet cul-de-sac where Mr McFarland had lived for more than 20 years said he was a “friendly” character.

“He was well-known in the area,” said Philip Duggan.

“He had lived in Dunmurry all of his life and had been in Lenwood Drive for much longer than I’ve been here.

“He was a really friendly man and could have stood and chatted to you easily for half-an-hour with the dog. He just loved his wee dog.”

Another neighbour, Maura Murphy, who took the dog in after Mr McFarland collapsed, also paid tribute.

“He was a really pleasant man and was just devoted to his dog,” she said. “He was really lovely.”

Details about Mr McFarland’s funeral have yet to be finalised, although it is expected to be next week.

Belfast Telegraph

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