The heartbroken mother of a 44-year-old motorcyclist who died when his bike collided with a tractor and a slurry tank on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown, last night said “he was my backbone”.
Richard Brown, who died on Friday night, was one of three motorcyclists to die on Ulster’s roads in the space of six days.
On Saturday a 28-year-old died after his motorbike collided with a tractor and trailer on the Baranahilt Road in Limavady.
He has been named locally as Declan McGurk from Limavady.
Two other men aged in their 20s who were travelling on a second motorbike were taken to hospital for injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening. The driver of the tractor was not injured.
On Monday Alan Kelso from Antrim died when his Honda motorcycle struck a telegraph pole on Crumlin’s Dungonnell Road.
Twenty people have been killed on Northern Ireland’s roads this year to date – and police have appealed for people to take extra care when travelling over Easter.
Ruby Brown, 66, said fellow bikers formed an escort when her son Richard [Dick] was being brought home to Lisbellaw on Saturday night.
“All the bikers came and gave him an escort home,” she said.
“And when they were coming up to the bridge they did a great big rev out for him, and that was just how they pay respect to another biker.
“It was so sad. And I was thinking if it was someone else he would have been the biggest culprit to do that.
“All his friends are so devastated too – they can’t believe it.”
Mrs Brown said Richard’s son came across the accident as he drove into Fivemiletown. She said Richard had three daughters and one son “who are all devastated at this”.
“It is tragic,” she said. “I will miss him very badly because he has lived at home with me for the last five years.
“His son Dean is in bits because he is into motorbikes like his daddy, and he came across the accident.
“When Dean was leaving on Friday, Richard said to him ‘you be careful on that bike now and no speeding’. Those were the last words he said to his son.
“Richard had his motorbike and his car and everything else, all his money, went to his children.
“He was a self-employed electrician and would go away from home three weeks at a time.
“He lived for his children and for me too. He was just my backbone and did everything for me.
“He was a fantastic son, one in a million.”
Mrs Brown said she “really felt for another mother in Limavady who is today going through the same thing”.
She said: “Richard was killed outright. His friend was with him and he rang me to say he wasn’t responding and he didn’t know what to do.
“He said the ambulance was on the way. Richard was 44-years-old but he had an active life and he did things that people never do.”
Mr Brown’s funeral will be held in the Church of Ireland in Lisbellaw today at 1.30pm with interment in the adjoining cemetery.
Sympathy has been extended to the family of Limavady man Declan McGurk, 28, who died after his motorbike came into collision with a tractor and trailer at lunchtime on Saturday.
Mr McGurk was killed less than 24 hours after motorcyclist Richard Brown, 44, from Lisbellaw whose bike collided with a tractor and slurry tank on Friday at 8.30pm.
Sinn Fein councillor Brenda Chivers, who knows Mr McGurk’s family, extended her deepest sympathy to the family.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” she said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to all the family and friends at this time.
“It is a terrible thing to happen to a family.”