Family ‘broken’ after sudden farm death

The farm at Turmore Road, Saval, Newry, where Stephen McMinn died.
The farm at Turmore Road, Saval, Newry, where Stephen McMinn died.

Mourners for a Rathfriland man who died in a farm-related incident will hear at his funeral that he was “a giver” who was “full of fun”.

The family of Stephen McMinn said that they are “broken” by the death of their “beloved son”.

It is thought he was helping out on his uncle’s farm on the Turmore Road outside Newry on Friday when he died.

The 23-year-old was the only son of Victor and Louise, and a brother of Ruth. He also leaves behind his grandmother Edna Brown and girlfriend Rachael,

Rev Seamus Burke will be conducting the funeral service at 2pm on Tuesday 19 May at Ballyroney Presbyterian Church. He said the tragedy is still raw for Stephen’s family.

“As you can imagine they are very much broken,” he told the News Letter. “Stephen was their only, beloved son.”

Rev Burke will tell mourners today that Stephen worked as an engineer.

“He would have been 24 at his next birthday,” he will say. “This young man’s life was short but it was full. Full of fun, full with family.

“He was a pupil of Drumadonnell Primary School and Banbridge Academy. He completed his education at Newry Tech, graduating with a HND in electronic engineering.

“He was well suited to his qualification, for he loved this field of work, not just in his employment with ENE Engineering Banbridge, but also in his personal life. Anyone who knew Stephen, knew he loved cars. His engineering skills were put to good use in fixing them and doing them up.

“Stephen built long, lasting and loving relationships. Within the family circle: his gran, aunties and uncles, and amongst his cousins. Not just in the family either: he was a loyal friend to his friends. ‘Mini’ they called him. He will be sorely missed by them.

“Victor and Louise tell me of a son who never gave them any trouble, a giver, a helper, someone of whom they were intensely proud. A young man who loomed large in their lives, whose presence will be impossible to replace.”

The Health and Safety Executive confirmed it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.

A spokesman said: “HSENI is investigating a fatal incident on a farm in the Newry area on Friday night.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the family at this most difficult time.”

Councillor Liz Ingram said people in the local area are in shock. “I would just like to say it was with great sadness that I learned of the death of this popular young man from the local area,” she said.