Belfast Telegraph

Cousin’s tribute to Fermanagh teen Neil Graham tragically killed in farming accident

By Linda Stewart

The cousin of a Fermanagh teenager who died in an accident involving farm machinery says everyone thought the world of him.

Apprentice mechanic Neil Graham (17) was to be an usher at the summer wedding of Mark Ovens.

He lost his life in the tragedy at Boho Road near Enniskillen on Tuesday.

Mr Ovens described his cousin as a "typical Fermanagh young farm hand" who loved his home of Garrison.

"He was brilliant, really witty and very popular. Everyone thought the world of him," Mr Ovens said.

He described the teenager as a "typical mischievous 17-year-old" who owned a pet goat and pet chickens.

"He loved where he lived, he loved the outdoors and he loved getting his hands dirty," he added.

"He was a typical Fermanagh young farm hand who worked on the family farm.

"He and his father Eddie were very close.

"Neil was the youngest of four children."

The fatal accident occurred at a garage and involved a tractor.

The teenager had been a student at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen and had been working as an agricultural mechanic recently.

"Everyone liked him," Mr Ovens added.

"He had a massive family and he was very well thought of among all the cousins."

The PSNI attended the scene of the accident on Tuesday.

Police said: "The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time and the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has been informed."

The HSENI said: "HSENI is aware of an incident in the Fermanagh area and is making enquiries."

DUP leader Arlene Foster, an MLA for the area, expressed her condolences.

She said: "This is immensely sad news for the Garrison community.

"This was a well-known young man with his life in front of him who died in very tragic circumstances.

"Our thoughts turn to Neil's family who are mourning the loss of their son.

"They will feel the pain of his loss most acutely and they are very much in our prayers in the days and weeks ahead.

"Garrison is a close-knit area and I have no doubt the community will give help and support to the family as they grieve Neil's loss."

Local Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton said the teenager came from a well-respected and community-orientated family.

"The tragic loss of a young life like this is unbearable to contemplate," she said.

The pain that the family must be going through is totally unknown to most of us.

"This young man had a great and bright future ahead of him, which has been cut short in heartbreaking circumstances.

"My heart goes out to his parents and the entire family circle at this terrible time."

Fermanagh and Omagh Council vice chairman Alex Baird, a friend of the family, said he wanted to pass on his condolences also.

"When children die before their parents, it's a tragedy," he said.

Neil is survived by his parents Eddie and Joy, his brother Jonathan and his sisters Cherith and Rebecca.

His funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon at Garrison Parish Church followed by interment in the adjoining graveyard.

Belfast Telegraph

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