Angler David Warnock’s fiancee devastated at losing her ‘rock’

The vigil at Shillington's Quay on Saturday evening.
The vigil at Shillington's Quay on Saturday evening.

The fiance of the angler who died on a fishing trip last week has paid tribute to the man she called “my soulmate, my life, my rock, my whole world, my every breath”.

David Warnock, 27, will be buried today after a funeral service at St John’s Church, Mullabrack near Markethill.

The father-of-one, who lived in Richhill with his partner Sandra Kerr and their three year-old son Matthew, was rescued after his boat overturned on Lough Ree in Westmeath on Thursday in what is reported to have been a squall -a localised very powerful wind.

He and John Trimble, 60, both members of the Portadown Pikers Club, were rescued by the local RNLI after the alarm was raised that afternoon.

John is said to be recovering in hospital.

The search was continuing last night for a third man, Daryl Burke from Portadown. The 30 year-old’s wife is understood to be heavily pregnant with their fourth child.

In a tribute posted on her Facebook site Sandra Kerr said she did not know how her life would be without her beloved partner.

“Matthew’s daddy has been taken from us,” she said. “We need you so so much David Warnock. I love you with all my heart, from the top of my heart to the tips of my toes, just wish you were here with me.”

More than 100 people, members of the Pikers club or friends of the men, travelled to Westmeath at some point this weekend to help with the search operation for Mr Burke.

A source close to the club said that, while there is always an outside hope Daryl may be safe and well, there is “an air of resignation that he will not be found alive”.

Around 200 people gathered in Portadown on Saturday evening where candles were lit at a vigil for the men.

Deputy Mayor Colin McCusker, who is a cousin of Mr Warnock, said the vigil showed the strength of compassion within the town since the tragedy.

“People from all sides were there,” he told the News Letter. “It was organised through Facebook and it really showed that the families affected have the support, thoughts and prayers of the whole area.”

He said Mr Warnock’s family is “bearing up”.

“They are very much in a state of shock,” he said.

Rev Neville Hughes of St John’s church said the fishing trip had been a long-planned one and Sandra “fully expected to see David coming home again today”.

Upper Bann MP David Simpson was among those who attended the vigil at Shillington’s Quay on Saturday.

Afterwards he said: “Tonight was filled with great sadness but I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Portadown who came together tonight to unite in prayer for the families and friends of those affected by the tragic events at Lough Ree.”