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Close-knit Portadown community devastated by sudden loss



Levaghery Gardens in Portadown, yesterday

Levaghery Gardens in Portadown, yesterday

Philip Magowan

Levaghery Gardens in Portadown, yesterday

Neighbours in the quiet cul-de-sac where Portadown pensioner Victor Pickering died on Wednesday are still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy that has unfolded.

Many of them are elderly or retired, and have lived alongside each other for many years.

The quiet development, which is just off the Gilford Road, has only a small number of houses, some backing on to open fields and all well-kept.

Like their neighbours' front gardens, the couple's is immaculate and has obviously been lovingly tended.

Neighbours said Mrs Pickering spent a lot of time in the garden and was always ready with a wave.

Yesterday, the only indication of the traumatic events was a police car parked in front of the house and orange tape strung across the driveway.

A tree had also lost a branch when the air ambulance landed in the nearby church car park.

Yesterday, the children of Portadown Independent Christian School played in the same car park, while on the street a postwoman quietly went about her rounds.

Neighbours spoke warmly of their "very good neighbours" and "a lovely couple".

The overriding emotion was one of shock, sadness and disbelief - and the knowledge that life would never quite be the same again.

Belfast Telegraph