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Tributes to Bangor climber David Andrews who died in tragic accident on Fair Head


Emergency services respond to the incident at Fair Head

Emergency services respond to the incident at Fair Head

Emergency services respond to the incident at Fair Head

Friends have paid tribute to a popular rock climber from Bangor who died at a Co Antrim cliff face.

David Andrews (62) lost his life on Thursday afternoon at Fair Head near Ballycastle, a popular spot for rock climbers.

A coastguard helicopter and cliff rescue teams from Ballycastle and Coleraine attended but he was declared dead at the scene.

The retired BT engineer is survived by his wife Mabel, children Gareth and Fiona and two grandchildren.

A family notice said his funeral would be private due to social distancing guidelines, with donations if desired to either RNLI or the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance.

His friend and climbing partner, Kyle Stewart, from Belfast Climbing Club, said his death was "a devastating loss" to Belfast and Irish climbing.

"He was the best climbing partner I ever had. He was always keen for getting out climbing and Fair Head is where he loved the most," he said on Facebook.

"Davey and I spent so many good days there. He climbed with a stoic grace that any climber would be envious off. Although occasionally that 'stoic persona' would slip and he would let out a cheeky grin. He would often complain that I would take him up a climb that was 'too hard', and then proceed to cruise it, often in much better fashion than me," he added.

Mr Andrews also enjoyed a passion for motocross riding, with his son Gareth also once crowned Ulster Champion.

A spokesperson from Moto Trial NI said he was "a real character who loved the sport" and was always on hand to help with his club, Ards MCC.

"A successful grade A rider in his day, Davey travelled the world to follow his passion and was very proud when his son Gareth (aka the Bangor Bull) took up the sport and worked to be crowned Ulster Champion and Irish team member for many years," the statement read.

"David was also very proud of his daughter Fiona who travelled to England to earn her nursing degree and fell in love with her second home so she stayed there to build her life and gain lots of new friends."

Mr Andrews' love of the great outdoors also extended to hiking in the Mourne Mountains. The spokesperson said his love of climbing over the last 10-15 years had been embraced to the full, and saw him push himself to the very highest level.

"He would have spent most weekends with his group of close climbing friends doing what he loved and again travelled the world enjoying his new sport and living his life to the fullest.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Mabel, Gareth, Fiona and the rest of the family circle at this very sad time."

His death followed another tragedy on the north coast last week, when a teenager died near Dunluce Castle on Tuesday evening. Warnings have since been issued about the dangerous practice of tombstoning, which involves jumping off cliff faces into the sea.

Belfast Telegraph