Tributes pouring in for Ulster QC
Tributes were pouring in today for the leading Ulster barrister who died in a yachting accident in the Caribbean.
John Thompson, QC (54), sustained serious head injuries after a large wave crashed into his yacht, Avocet, off the coast of Barbados. He died yesterday.
Mr Thompson's family are establishing a charity to help the hospital that cared for him.
They said they wanted to raise funds to facilitate organ donation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados.
A statement from the Thompson family, who were with him when he died last night, read: "John passed away peacefully today. His wife Tina and children Charlotte, Rachel, Vicky and Daniel were at his bedside."
Noelle McGrenera QC, chairwoman of the Bar Council of Northern Ireland, today said council members are greatly saddened to learn of the tragic death of their esteemed colleague.
She said John was highly regarded professionally and was universally admired.
"As well as managing a very successful practice at the Junior Bar and then at the Senior Bar, John served his profession in a variety of ways including as a member of the Bar and Executive Councils, as Bursar and as a member of the Bar's Professional Conduct Committee," she said.
"John represented the Bar of Northern Ireland internationally and for four years was Head of the United Kingdom Delegation to The Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).
"His wisdom and guidance in the governance of his profession both nationally and internationally will be greatly missed. His death is not only a huge loss to the Bar, but is an incalculable loss to his family to whom we offer our sincere and heartfelt sympathy."
Stanton Adair, chairman of the Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland, paid tribute to Mr Thompson, who had been competing in a transatlantic race when the tragedy struck last Friday.
"John was one of Northern Ireland's most committed and competent keel boat sailors," he said.
"The sympathy and thoughts of everyone in the yachting world is with his family at this very difficult time."
The Co Down lawyer's grandson Jonny sent a touching message to the Avocet website shortly after hearing the news.
"I will miss my Grandad greatly, he will always be remembered, never forgotten," it read.
"This site has just shown me how popular my Grandad was for his many qualities - his talents, his skills, his intelligence, his humour and his great friendship."