Co Down man John Joseph Blaney who died in crash laid to rest
Hundreds of mourners paid their respects yesterday to a Co Down man who died in a crash while driving home from his friend's funeral.
John Joseph Blaney (32) died in a two-vehicle crash on the Ballagh Road between Newcastle and Annalong around 12.30pm on Friday.
He had just left a funeral service in Downpatrick and was travelling to Kilkeel to see his partner Barbara Jensikova and her daughter Pav at the time.
Mr Blaney was originally from Downpatrick, where his funeral service was held yesterday morning in St Patrick's Church, Saul, with burial in the adjoining ceremony.
A number of his former colleagues were among those who joined the family to pay their respects.
Fr Paul Alexander, parish priest at St Patrick's, conducted the service. "By all accounts, he was a great lad and a very kindly neighbour," he said.
"Everyone that spoke to me told me he was a good and genuine son.
"He was very dedicated to his work as well and was well thought of by his colleagues and the many people he helped."
Mr Blaney had worked as the garden coordinator at Camphill Community Mourne Grange, a supported living centre for over 50 adults with learning disabilities.
This week the manager, Lizzie Dixon, said Mr Blaney's colleagues were "devastated" over the loss of "a lovely, gentle-hearted man".
She added that he brought joy to many of the residents, who enjoyed spending time outdoors helping him to grow the vegetables.
"It was more than just a job to John," she said.
His partner, who also works at the centre, had been looking forward to celebrating their two-year anniversary together.
Mr Blaney is survived by his parents Anne and Michael, sisters Cara and Emily, as well as his nephew Luke and niece Eva.
Police called on anyone who witnessed the crash between Mr Blaney's Citroen and a Skoda Octavia to contact them on 101.
Drivers with dash-cams who were near the Bloody Bridge at the time have also been asked to check their footage.