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'Very lovable' father-of-five is the second motorcyclist to die on NI's roads in just one week

By Allan Preston

Published 06/08/2016

Billy Kirk with his son Jaxon
Billy Kirk with his son Jaxon
The scene of the fatal crash

A father-of-five who died in a motorcycle crash in Newtownards on Thursday night has been described by his family as "a very lovable person".

Billy Kirk (53) from Newtownards died after his motorcycle collided with a roundabout on the Comber Road around 11.40pm on Thursday.

His father Bill Kirk, a well-known photographer, said the family "was in bits".

He shared one of his favourite pictures of Billy, sitting on a motorbike with his six-year-old son Jaxon.

Mr Kirk said he was "a very lovable person" who was highly popular with all the children in the Kirk family.

Billy's brother Brendan Kirk posted on social media: "My brother Billy (age 53) died last night following a motorbike accident in Newtownards.

"There has been some confusion about which Billy it was and I just want to clear this up. There are three 'Billy Kirks' in the family."

Billy's nephew Naryan Kirk posted on Facebook: "You don't realise how much someone means to you until they are gone.

"I've lost my uncle and someone I consider a best friend to a motorcycle accident. I'll never forget all the times you helped me and all the fond memories I have of you. You were the toughest man I knew and I loved you very much, R.I.P uncle Billy it's not going to be the same without you."

Friend Michelle Burch said: "So sorry to hear your sad news, I only met him once, he was a lovely man. Please pass my condolences to your grandparents from me."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, family friend Frankie Quinn said: "I know his father very well. It's absolutely terrible, I spent most of the day yesterday with Bill and then he phoned me this morning with the news. The family are all into cycling and Bill junior was into motor bikes for a long time, since he was a kid. They're a very respected family." A family notice described him as a "dearly loved son of Billy and Mary, brother of Clifford, Diane, Leonard and Brendan."

The funeral service will be held next Tuesday at 11am in Clarkes Funeral Parlour, 12 Court Square, Newtownards, with burial afterwards in Movilla Cemetery.

Mr Kirk is now the second motorbike rider to die in the area in just a week. On Sunday, July 31, 21-year-old Jay Reardon from Holywood Hills was killed riding his motorbike on the Belfast Road near Newtownards, close to the junction of Milecross Road.

"My heart goes out to the entire family at this time and it's sad that it's the second death on the Ards road within a week, it's definitely something we need to see if we can change," said DUP councillor for Newtownards, Naomi Armstrong-Cotter.

Speaking last week, the Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council Deborah Girvan said: "It is such a tragedy, another death on our roads. Motorcyclists and cyclists really do need to take care on the roads, as do drivers.

"All road-users have to be courteous. I was coming down the Ballydrain Road where I live and a car overtook a cyclist and nearly came headlong in to me. We need to sit back and take stock.

"There are too many deaths on our roads and we all need to take much extra care."

Ulster Unionist MLA Philip Smith commented on social media: "My thoughts are with the family of the deceased."

PSNI inspector Claire McBride has said: "It is not thought that any other vehicles were involved in (Mr Kirk's) collision. We are keen to speak to witnesses and officers can be contacted by calling 101, quoting reference 1430 August 4, 2016."

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