Belfast Telegraph

Tributes paid to popular farmer and pipe band member Philip Capper killed in tractor accident

By Brett Campbell

Tributes have been paid to a talented Co Down drummer who died after a tractor he was travelling in veered off the road.

Philip Capper (29) was a passenger in the John Deere tractor that crashed on Back Road in Drumbo shortly after 9.15pm on Friday.

DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley, who had known Mr Capper since he was six and had once worked on the family's farm, told how he received the "devastating" phone call, and described his friend as an "absolute character".

"Philip was a genuine and much-loved character," he said.

"He loved farming life and was such a big character in his own right.

"It is gutting for everyone."

Mr Buckley said his "deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers" were with Philip's family who face "difficult days" following the tragedy.

"His sudden and sad passing has sent shockwaves throughout Northern Ireland's farming community and beyond," he added.

A 22-year-old male driver who was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving has been released on bail pending further enquiries.

The Health and Safety Executive has been informed of the incident and police have appealed for information.

Mr Capper, originally from the Annaghmore area, was a member of Battlehill Pipe Band.

A statement issued on its Facebook page said everyone was "deeply saddened" following the sudden death of the bass drummer who possessed "great abilities".

"Philip has been a member of the band for over 15 years and has been a loyal and dedicated player, contributing greatly to our success over the years," the post read.

It also praised Philip as "a very loyal and dependable" person who had "great qualities" and was characterised by his "great big smile".

Band members extended their thoughts and prayers to Mr Capper's heartbroken family including parents Heather and Howard, brother David and sister Joanne.

The tragedy occurred just eight months after Philip's cousin Ross Capper (18) was killed in a single vehicle collision in Portadown while driving home from his part-time job in a McDonald's restaurant.

Philip will be buried in Kernan Cemetery in Portadown on Wednesday afternoon following a service in Banbridge Baptist Church.

The funeral cortege will leave from his former home on Gregorlough Road outside Dromore.

Belfast Telegraph

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