Belfast Telegraph

John Hanna's widow in shock at tractor death of councillor husband

By Nevin Farrell

The widow of former Ulster Unionist councillor John Hanna has spoken of her shock at how her husband was killed when the tractor he was driving overturned on him.

Joan Baird, herself an Ulster Unionist councillor, said she believed the 66-year-old was killed instantly as he drove his vintage tractor from her mother's home to theirs in the Ballintoy area of Co Antrim.

The Causeway Coast and Glens councillor explained she was out on Monday afternoon when she learned of the heartbreaking news.

She said: "It was a very big shock to me. For whatever reason, he was still on a straight part of the road, he had come up my mother's lane and turned right. The tractor seems to have caught the left-hand verge and that was probably enough to overturn it.

"Whether something had gone wrong with the tractor or whether he was trying something with a differential lock and if he, maybe, was putting that on, that could have locked the wheels of the tractor, we don't know.

"It is all speculation, nobody knows really why the tractor overturned and he was pinned below it and we believed he died immediately." Joan added that her husband had only recently become interested in vintage tractors and was to take part in the Ballintoy Vintage Tractor Rally.

He was a former chairman of Banbridge District Council where he served as Ulster Unionist councillor for the Scarva area for 22 years until March.

Party leader Mike Nesbitt described Mr Hanna as an "exemplary public servant who always sought to put the needs of his constituents ahead of his own".

Police widow Kate Carroll, from Banbridge, had met Mr Hanna and spoke of him as a "genuine and very decent man" who supported her reconciliation work.

Millar Farr, the leader of the Royal Black Institution, praised Mr Hanna as a "hard worker" who enjoyed sharing the annual Sham fight with others, including a cross-community group from the Republic.

Belfast Telegraph


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