A mechanic who died after a tractor accident has been remembered as a ‘genius’ with machines, and as a gentleman with a ready smile.
Benny Hamilton, understood to have been in his early 40s, was said to have been crushed by the machine.
The accident occurred in the Aghadulla Road area, to the south-west of Omagh.
The man who owned the farm where the accident took place, Noel Patterson, said that Mr Hamilton had been an immensely talented mechanic.
He described him as a “genius” with machinery who “always had a smile for everybody”.
Nigel McCutcheon, 39, employs Mr Hamilton’s two brothers at the Mayfly Inn pub in Kesh, and had been speaking to him face-to-face only last Friday.
Echoing Mr Patterson’s description, he said: “He was just a total gentleman. He always had a smile on his face, any time you saw him.”
It is believed Mr Hamilton was married with children and that he lived in a house he had built near the village of Lack, in Fermanagh.
Mr Hamilton’s death was just the latest bereavement to befall his brothers, Mr McCutcheon added.
“Their mum passed away when they were only babies, only children,” he said.
“I think their dad passed away maybe about three years ago – he died quite young as well. To be honest, the father reared the three cubs.”
Mr McCutcheon, speaking of his encounter with Benny Hamilton last Friday, said: “He was up to see Don and Ally [his two brothers]. They were close.
“It’s just hard to take in that he’s gone. He’d have been the strength of them all.
“Don and Ally would get Benny to look at this, or say ‘Our Benny will do this for us’.”
He added: “They’ve been hit hard. Especially at Christmas.
“Nobody can promise tomorrow. It’s terrible.”
He added: “From what I know about him he was always a magnificent mechanic, and highly thought of in his profession.”
He believes that Mr Hamilton had worked for a Lack-based contractor, but that more recently he had been working on a self-employed basis.
The accident unfolded at around 2.30pm on Wednesday.
The ambulance service said they had received a report that a tractor had fallen onto the victim.
He was taken to the South West acute hospital.
He lost his fight for life the same night.
Details of the death only emerged yesterday (Thursday).
The accident had happened on a farm belonging to Mr Patterson, 60.
The two had been friends, and Mr Patterson described him as the most gifted mechanic he knew.
He said Mr Hamilton had been working with his son Gareth at the time. While Gareth was out getting some paint he heard a bang.
Mr Patterson was unsure what had happened to cause the accident.
He was unstinting in his praise for Mr Hamilton, and told the News Letter: “A great man – one of the best. He could make something out of nothing. “
Whilst he knew of many good mechanics, Mr Hamilton “was the only man who would come and work with everything in that yard – he could put his hand to anything in that yard and fix it”.
He added: “He always had a smile for everybody.
“You could not have had a better fellow.
“He was a fantastic fellow. He was a genius! What he could do, honest to God.”
Raymond Farrell, independent unionist councillor in the Erne North part of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, said: “It’s obviously an absolute tragedy, particularly I suppose as we approach the Christmas period, [when] people are thinking of the family and those they love.
“All of a sudden the family are faced with this awful tragedy and trauma of loss.”
He added: “The sudden death in such tragic circumstances of Mr Hamilton is heartbreaking and leaves you lost for words.
“A day began with duties to attend to, yet ended in the loss of life of this dear man, a friend to many.
“I pray that God will comfort the broken-hearted and I know the neighbours and friends will rally round in every practical way possible.”