John Traynor, aged 41, died on a hill above Carrickfergus in what is believed to have been an accident involving a heavy vehicle.
It happened shortly after 9am on Wednesday, but despite the help of paramedics, police and the air ambulance, he died at the scene.
His funeral is set to be held tomorrow (Saturday) in Ballycastle, where he had lived.
Now his cousin Sean ‘TT’ Traynor has painted a picture of the kind of person John was.
Mr Traynor (aged 61 and originally from the English midlands) said that the tragic workman had two children, John (about 18) and Caitlin (about 21).
His fiancee is Ann McBride, from Donegal.
“He was a very popular character in the Ballycastle area,” Sean told the News Letter.
“He was very well gifted technically, and with crafts.
“He spent a lot of time in his workshop making gadgets and machinery. He was amazingly technically gifted.
“It’s hard to come to terms with the circumstances as they are now, [but] my abiding memory of him is being so hard working.
“He’s got two children from his first relationship, and he lived his life for them to be quite honest.
“He was about to get married in June of this year after two postponements due to Covid.
“They met about five years ago and fell in love.
“It’s the true heartbreaking story of their lives being planned for the future.
“She’s broken – like all the family at the moment.
“They were just totally head over heels in love with each other.
“With the wedding and everything they were, needless to say, like everyone, quite upset about the postponements.
“They were looking forward to it coming in June and getting on with their lives.”
Sean added that, although he knows it is a cliche, it is genuinely true that “there’s not a person to say a bad word about him”.
John would have been 42 in July.
His brother Gerald had died two years earlier from cancer.
His father George died some time ago, but his mother Mary is still alive.
It remains unclear exactly what caused his death.
Some sources say he was trapped when a heavy vehicle slid in muddy conditions, but there is no confirmation of this.
The area where he was working contains many reservoirs and a water processing plant; local UUP MLA Roy Beggs believes he was working on a project for NI Water.
His remains will leave his home today at 9.15am to St Patrick’s and St Brigid’s Church in Ballycastle for a 10am requiem mass.
After that John will be buried in the adjoining cemetery.
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