Limavady lost a “hero” and a “thoroughly decent human being” with the death of council worker John Winton, mourners at his funeral were told on Saturday.
The military veteran and part-time firefighter was killed as a result of a collision with a refuse vehicle on Tuesday.
Mr Winton served in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan before leaving the Army to work in the private security industry and most lately for Causeway Coasts and Glens Borough Council.
The 51-year-old was also a member of the Orange Order and the Roe Valley flute band.
Speaking at his funeral service at Christ Church Limavady, Rev Brian Hassan praised Mr Winton’s service to the community as well as Queen and country.
In his funeral address, seen by the News Letter prior to the service, Rev Hassan said: “When it seemed John couldn’t fit anything more into his life – family man, Orangeman, bandsman, Liverpool supporter, veteran, worker – amazingly he did.
“His core value of selfless commitment came into play again as he became a retained firefighter in Limavady.
“My words cannot adequately convey what a wonderful, fun-loving, hard-working family man John was.”
Firefighters provided a uniformed guard of honour as his remains were brought home on Thursday evening.
Rev Hassan added: “What I can say is I was proud to be his friend. I can’t imagine what the family are going through and will continue to go through. This community has lost a hero and a thoroughly decent human being.
“Life is what you make it, they say, and sadly some people waste their lives. They let it pass by without making their mark. We only get one chance and John made his mark.
“He never forgot his Confirmation vows and kept the faith, and with the Army’s core values he grew into an outstanding individual.”
Mr Winton was an ex-pupil of Limavady Intermediate School (now the High School) and had been a member of the Army Cadet Force in his youth.
Having joined the Army he rose through the ranks to become a warrant officer.
Following news of Mr Winton’s death, Graham Stewart of Roe Valley ex-Serviceman’s LOL 997 described him as “an upright, honest, hard-working Christian man”.
Mr Winton is described in a family notice as the “loving son of Margaret, step son of Robin, devoted father of Lisa and Gavin, grandfather of Ciera, Emilia, Bailey, Poppy-Mae, brother of Sheena and Rhona.”