Tributes paid to businessman who ‘had time for everyone’

Castlederg's main street
Castlederg's main street

Tributes have been paid to Castlederg businessman John Forsythe who “had time for everyone he met”.

The 51-year-old, a well-known businessman who owned Forsythe’s Take Away on Main Street in the town, died after two cars collided on the Manoo Road, outside Kesh, around 6pm on Wednesday.

A woman in the second car was taken to the South West Acute Hospital and her condition has been described as “stable”.

A PSNI spokesman said Mr Forsythe was the 31st person to die on Ulster’s roads this year.

This time last year 30 people had died on our roads,

Mr Forsythe, who lived in Kesh, has been described as “a man who was always smiling”.

His former teacher, Castlederg Ulster Unionist councillor Derek Hussey, said “a deep sense of shock and loss” has taken hold of the “entire community of Castlederg”.

“John worked in his own business and I am sure the staff who worked alongside him are devastated as well,” he said.

“Everyone, no matter what community you came from or what social strata, would have known John through the chippy. He was a guy who enjoyed life. He didn’t just stand behind the counter, there was always banter and chat. He engaged with his customers.”

Councillor Hussey said he first knew Mr Forsythe when he started teaching him in the secondary school in Castlederg, and “subsequently as a friend, local businessman and keen supporter of local causes”.

He said the Forsythe family are well known in the area.

“A major word that can be found in many social media comments and tributes in regard to John is ‘gentleman’,” he said.

“Personally, I cannot think of a time when we would have met that John would not have the ‘wee smile’ on his face, no matter what the circumstances.”

Fellow UUP councillor Rosemary Barton said the death was “yet another tragic accident on our roads which has left a family bereft of a loved one”.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the wife and family circle of the deceased, who live in the Kesh and Castlederg areas. I also wish the injured party a speedy recovery.”

UUP MP Tom Elliott also extended his sympathy to the Forsythe family.

Mr Forsythe’s funeral will be held tomorrow at 2.15pm in Castlederg Church of Ireland.