Farm tragedy victim Norman Foster an ‘honourable and genuine’ man

A 77-year-old man killed in a “freak” farm accident in Fermanagh has been described as a “stalwart within the local community and a true gentleman”.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 9:28 am
Norman Foster had retired but still enjoyed working on the farm
Norman Foster had retired but still enjoyed working on the farm

Norman Thomas Foster, a father of five, died on December 23 and will be buried on Monday following a service at Knockninny Methodist Church near Derrylin.

Mr Foster’s son Steven posted a message on social media saying his father was being his “active self” when tragedy struck.

“He was a very fit 77, out and about on the farm enjoying being his active self, when a freak accident happened. We’re all in shock,” Steven said.

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It is understood that a large straw bale in a barn became dislodged and fell on Mr Foster, although the exact cause of death has not yet been established.

Former Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott said Mr Foster spent last week visiting those vulnerable members of the community who were more likely to feel isolated at Christmas.

“Norman was a really decent guy and an absolute gentleman to everyone,” he told the News Letter.

“He had a great [Christian] faith. And he not only had it on a Sunday, he had it every day of the week. Norman would never have said anything bad about anybody. He was a great source of support and help to people.”

Ahead of visiting the Foster family home yesterday, Mr Elliott posted a message of condolence in response to a post from Mr Foster’s son.

Mr Elliott said: “Steven, very sorry to learn of your dad’s sudden and unexpected passing, he was a very honourable, genuine and good person.

“He will be extremely missed by all who knew him, but especially by you and all the family. Sincere sympathy to you and all the family.”

UUP councillor Alex Baird said that although Mr Foster had retired, he still enjoyed helping out on the farm.

“Norman had retired himself but he supported his two sons [in their farming]. He was a stalwart within the community and a true gentleman.

“He was such a good man. Softly spoken and genuine – one of the few people in life that nobody could say anything negative about.

“A strong Methodist family and a good Christian family in the proper sense of the word.”

The Erne West representative added: “An unexpected death at any time is terrible, but at Christmas particularly so. The family is in my thoughts and prayers.”

Mr Foster lived at Rock Road, Derrylin.

In a Facebook post, son Steven thanked everyone who had sent a message, saying they were all appreciated.

He later posted a message saying his Christian faith is providing a “bedrock of peace”.

Steven also said he would carry on posting his online series of Christmas story characters, “despite how life suddenly changed the other day”.

He said: “The context in which I hold life is far greater than our present circumstances. We are devastated at our father’s loss. It’s raw, it’s sad, it’s shocking.

“But there is a bedrock of peace. And its basis is a God who entered our real world reality of life’s variety and suffering.”

The message goes on to say: “There’s nothing I’m more thankful for than the peace of God. And in this stark loss, it holds true and I’m thankful.

“I sincerely wish all my friends a very Happy Christmas.”

A service of thanksgiving for Mr Foster’s life will take place at Knockninny Methodist on Monday (27th) at 1pm followed by burial in the adjoining churchyard.

With attendance restricted to family and close friends only due to the social distancing requirements, the service is also being streamed line via www.wewmorrison.com.

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