Belfast Telegraph

‘Wonderful’ man is laid to rest

by Fiona Rutherford

The funeral of the Dundonald man who died in the weekend boating tragedy on Strangford Lough has taken place.

Ken Dorman, 51, was laid to rest at Strandtown Baptist church on Wednesday, June 16.

A church representative told the Community Telegraph that Mr Dorman was very involved with the church and that their former pastor, Mr Leslie Hutchinson, had returned to take the service as they had known each other very well.

Mr Dorman’s son Keith read a statement on behalf of the family, describing him as a wonderful husband and father.

“We are not sure how he died, but we know he was doing something he loved, and was with a dear friend,” he said. “Although our family are grieving his loss, we are grateful that he has a place in heaven.

“We are so thankful for the safety of the children and Dave, and we would like to thank Newtownards Sailing Club for all their help, as well as the rescue services.”

The tragedy unfolded as Mr Dorman, with friend David Allen and his two children, were enjoying a day sailing on the lough ahead of the annual Newtownards Sailing Club Regatta, which was cancelled as a result of the incident.

The Portaferry lifeboat, coastguard, and three ambulances rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised by members of a sailing club, who witnessed the small dinghy capsize.

Lawrence Baalham, a sailing instructor from the club, spotted the Laser 2000 dinghy overturned in calm waters, about a quarter of a mile off the coast.

Mr Baalham, an instructor for nine years, said it is “quite possible” the deceased had an underlying health condition.

“I don’t think he was underwater at any time,” he said.

“Although his lifejacket didn’t work, there is a certain amount of buoyancy in the jacket. He was face up when we found him.”

Mr Allen and his two children were rescued and taken to the Ulster Hospital for treatment.

DUP councillor Jonathan Bell said the vigilance and early response from a sea instructor at Newtownards Sailing Club had been “instrumental” in the successful rescue of the survivors, and that the instructor deserved “fulsome praise”.

“Again the professionalism of our police, coastguard and lifeboat service combined in an outstanding coordinated rescue operation — we are indebted to them for their courage and service,” he said.

“Sadly on this occasion, despite their valiant efforts, one man has subsequently died, and our sympathy and prayers are extended to his loved ones and family circle.”

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