Belfast Telegraph

Villagers' tributes to farm accident victim Richard Sharvin

By Claire Williamson

An elderly farmer has been remembered as a "wonderful man" and an "absolute gentleman" after he died in a farming accident at his home.

Richard Sharvin died after an incident just a short distance from Strangford village in Co Down on Friday.

The accident, which is believed to have involved a tractor, happened at his farm between Strangford and Downpatrick.

Mr Sharvin, who was in his 70s, leaves behind his wife Nora and two daughters, Cathy and Nuala.

Mr Sharvin's home was full of visitors and wellwishers as people from across the community rallied around to support the family of the well-known farmer.

The family were too grief-stricken to speak to the Belfast Telegraph.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, paid tribute to his friend, who he said was a "wonderful person".

"The people just loved him. His neighbours will sadly miss him", he said.

"He was always very helpful to all the neighbours."

As the sun glistened on Strangford Lough, the local community was plunged into mourning as the news spread of the tragic accident on Friday evening.

People were numb with shock as news of the tragedy filtered through the small village, with many recalling Mr Sharvin as a well-known and popular figure in the area.

Many remarked on the elderly man's sense of humour.

Locals recalled how the farmer would always have been in the village to pick up a newspaper in the morning and told how he would never go past anyone without saying hello.

A familiar face in the village, local shop workers were coming to terms with the loss.

One shop worker told the Belfast Telegraph it would be a "big loss to the community". He said: "He was really pleasant. He was always cracking jokes. It's a big loss to the community."

Maureen Savage (56) said she was very shocked at the news of the loss of the man who was "very well known in the farming community".

She would have sat beside him each week at Mass and had known for him for years.

She said: "He just loved a bit of craic. He was a bubbly man and would never have passed you.

"He was always a very friendly man, who was always in the village."

SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie paid tribute to Mr Sharvin, who she called an "upstanding respectable member of the local community".

She said: "I want to offer my sympathy and condolences to his widow and to his family and to the wider family connection at this very sad time."

Independent councillor Cadogan Enright said: "It's a busy time of year for farmers, they are working early in the morning and late into the evening.

"Everyone is well aware of the dangers in farms, but accidents do happen."

Police attended the scene, along with officials from the Health and Safety Executive, which has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy.

Mr Sharvin's funeral will take place tomorrow in St Patrick's Church, Saul, at 2pm.

Quotes

"Mr Sharvin loved farming and loved his farming enterprise and was a very respectable, upstanding member of the local community in Strangford. I knew him well, he was an absolute gentleman, a very hospitable, very jovial and kind-hearted individual. He was very kind. The local community are in shock - particularly the farming community."

- SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie

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