Belfast Telegraph

Tributes to Tyrone man Stephen Moffett who died during son's football trip in England

By Nevin Farrell

Tributes have been paid to a dedicated football fan and father who died suddenly at the weekend while on a youth trip to England with his son's team.

Stephen Moffett (52) had travelled to Manchester with Dungannon United Youth, which is connected to Irish League side Dungannon Swifts.

Mr Moffett was one of the Swifts' biggest supporters and, as condolences were expressed and tributes came in on social media from football supporters across Northern Ireland, his daughter Cathy said her family was "devastated".

She said her dad loved the Stangmore Park club and would never miss a game on a Saturday.

Club officials spoke of their shock.

Joe McAree, chairman of Dungannon United Youth, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from England yesterday, said he was staying in Blackpool as four of their teams were competing in a tournament in the resort.

Dungannon was also represented in a tournament in Manchester and Mr Moffett had been staying at the Holiday Inn at Haydock Park when he took ill.

Mr McAree said: "Stephen was with his son George (11) at the Manchester tournament and they came back yesterday evening from the games and in the hotel Stephen collapsed.

"We had a medical man there, Brian Kilpatrick, and the first thing he did was he told reception to call an ambulance. He then started working on him and he sent one of the leaders up for a defibrillator from a bedroom. He worked with him until the ambulance came and headed for Warrington Hospital, but unfortunately he died there.

"It is an absolute tragedy and our thoughts are with the family. I had to contact his wife Jayne and tell her he was on his way to hospital, and then the hospital informed her an hour-and-a-half or so later he had passed away.

"He was a lovely fella, very well-liked, he has been coming to Dungannon United Youth for a number of years.

"His son George plays and he loved coming along and watching them. He was always a good supporter and never criticised; he would be one of these parents that just let you get on with it.

"It is just an absolute tragedy, shocking that it happened at this time. They had been out at the games all day and had just arrived back in and he just collapsed at reception on Saturday evening."

Joe said a team official flew home with young George on Saturday night and the rest of the team is due home today.

Mr McAree said Stephen's wife was travelling to England to make arrangements to bring her husband home. "It must be a nightmare journey for her and I just feel so sorry for the whole family. He is a big loss," he added.

Mr Moffett is survived by Jayne, daughters Laura and Cathy, and George.

In a statement Dungannon Swifts said: "It is with deep sadness we would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Swifts fan Stephen Moffett.

"Stephen passed away suddenly last night while in Manchester with his son on a Dungannon United Youth trip. Thoughts and prayers are extended to all the family and friends of Stephen from chairman Keith Boyd, committee, players and supporters of DSFC."

Daughter Cathy said on Facebook: "Thank you for all your support. Dad used to live for the Swifts. Would never (have) missed a Saturday. Devastated."

Dungannon Swifts manager Rodney McAree said: "Such a good man, very supportive and was always a pleasure to see, awful news."

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