Belfast Telegraph

Tributes to Ross Willetts (22) who died in Cookstown motorcycle accident

Ross Willetts died on country road between Ballinderry and Ardboe
Ross Willetts died on country road between Ballinderry and Ardboe
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Tributes have been paid to a young man who died in a motorcycle crash on Friday.

Ross Willetts (22) from Tobermore was killed on the Drumenny Road in Cookstown in a crash at around 3.30am on Friday.

No other vehicle was involved in the incident.

The NI Ambulance Service said it despatched an emergency crew to the scene on the long country road, which runs between Ardboe and Ballinderry, but the biker's life could not be saved.

A past pupil of Magherafelt High School, Mr Willetts is the second motorcyclist to die on Northern Ireland's roads so far this year.

In May firefighter David Brown (54) died after suffering a heart attack while riding his motorcycle on the Magherafelt Road in Moneymore.

Mr Willetts had been living in England for a number of years but had recently returned to live in Northern Ireland.

Family and friends took to social media to offer their condolences.

Writing on Facebook, Mr Willetts' father Tony paid an emotional tribute to his "little soldier".

He wrote: "Miss you with all my heart.

"Just wish I could have been there to help you.

"Remembering the good times we had together.

"Love you with all my heart.

"My loving son rest in peace."

Mr Willetts is also survived by his mother Sharon, stepfather Clark, grandparents Jeff and Ruth, the wider family circle and his many friends.

His close friend Amy-Leigh Hougham (22) was among those paying tribute yesterday.

"Ross was a kind and warm-hearted boy who never failed to make me smile, even when I was down," she said.

"We went through so many good times and bad together.

"He was a big part of so many people's lives.

"He wasn't only my best friend, he was like a brother. I will miss him so much and nothing will ever be the same without him.

"Heaven has gained another beautiful angel."

Another heartbroken friend added: "He was a truly incredible yet touching guy who always made so much time regardless of who it was.

"Sleep tight Ross until we meet again."

DUP councillor Anne Forde said the local community had been left "devastated by the loss of a young life in such tragic circumstances".

She added: "Ross was a popular and well-liked young man and someone who was full of life.

"It is very sad that he was taken at such a young age and at a time when he had his whole life ahead of him."

Mr Willetts' funeral service will be held at his home in Tobermore tomorrow at noon followed by burial in Calvary Free Presbyterian Churchyard. Mr Willetts' family have asked that donations in lieu of flowers be made to Air Ambulance NI, payable to D Watters Funeral Services, 55 Main Street, Tobermore.

Meanwhile, police have made an appeal for anyone who witnessed Friday's incident or who has dash-cam footage which could help with their enquiries to contact detectives at Cookstown on the non-emergency 101 number, quoting reference 409 of July 12.

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