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'Amazing and devoted'... family's warm tribute to Northern Ireland father-of-five Keith Ross

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Tragedy: Keith Ross

Tragedy: Keith Ross

Tragedy: Keith Ross

The family of a Royal Navy marine engineer from Co Down who died following a road crash in England have described him as an "amazing, devoted and incredibly loving" person.

Keith Ross, who was originally from the village of Ardglass, passed away last Wednesday after his car crashed into a motorway barrier before careering off the M275 carriageway.

The 40-year-old father-of-five was a chief petty officer with the Royal Navy in Portsmouth and lived in Gosport, Hampshire.

The Co Down man joined the Navy in 1998 as a marine engineer and first served aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.

He was awarded the Operational Service Medal for serving in Sierra Leone. The devoted family man had most recently served as the deputy marine engineering officer of Crew 7 of the Second Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCM2 Crew 7) based at Portsmouth.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Ross's loved ones, some of whom still live in Ardglass, said they were "deeply proud" of his naval career.

Mr Ross is survived by his wife Sarah, their five children and the wider family circle.

"Our sailor Keith was an amazing, devoted and incredibly loving husband and father of five beautiful children aged 12 to two years old," they said.

"He was also an immensely loved and proud son, brother, son-in-law, uncle and brother in-law to so many.

"The love he had for his parents, Cynthia and Maurice, his sister Grainne, his brother Jordan, his in-laws Kim and Jon, and that of his extended family in the local area and Northern Ireland, and his extended naval and civilian family, was immeasurable."

The statement revealed that Mr Ross loved playing golf, and described how he had recently achieved his "best handicap ever".

He had also been looking forward to taking forward plans and projects, both professionally and personally.

The family said Mr Ross was also a considerate, thoughtful person.

"Keith would go out of his way to help anyone, anytime, anywhere. He had so much ahead of him that can no longer be, which simply breaks us," said the family.

"Keith had an infectious laugh, a cheeky smile, a quick wit and an Irish charm that could brighten up any room. Keith was loved by so many, so deeply.

"Our loss is so great, our grief is so deep."

The family added: "He had such an impact on so many people in life, and leaves such an impact in his death."

Also paying tribute, Lieutenant Commander Neil Skinner, commanding officer of MCM2 Crew 7, said: "He was a talented engineer operating at the top of his game.

"I feel truly honoured to have had known this fine gentleman and am devastated by his tragic and sudden loss.

"My heart goes out to his wife Sarah, their five children, parents and his wider family, who should feel nothing but total pride in what he achieved during his 22 years serving in the Royal Navy."

Belfast Telegraph