Stephen’s life was ‘short but full of fun’

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Mourners at the funeral service of a 23 year-old Rathfriland man who died following a farming accident, have heard how he built ‘long-lasting and loving relationships’ and will be ‘sorely missed’.

The family of Stephen McMinn said they are “broken” by the tragedy, which is understood to have occurred as he was helping out on his uncle’s farm on the Turmore Road outside Newry, on Friday May 16.

Stephen was the only son of Victor and Louise, and brother of Ruth. He also leaves behind his grandmother Edna Brown and girlfriend Rachael.

Rev Seamus Burke, who conducted the funeral service at Ballyroney Presbyterian Church on Tuesday May 19, said the tragedy is still raw for Stephen’s family.

“He would have been 24 at his next birthday,” said Rev Burke.

“This young man’s life was short but it was full. Full of fun, full with family.

“He was a pupil of Drumadonnell Primary School and Banbridge Academy. He completed his education at Newry Tech, graduating with a HND in electronic engineering.

“He was well suited to his qualification, for he loved this field of work, not just in his employment with ENE Engineering Banbridge, but also in his personal life. Anyone who knew Stephen, knew he loved cars. His engineering skills were put to good use in fixing them and doing them up.

“Stephen built long, lasting and loving relationships. Within the family circle: his gran, aunties and uncles, and amongst his cousins.

“Not just in the family either: he was a loyal friend to his friends. ‘Mini’ they called him. He will be sorely missed by them.

“Victor and Louise tell me of a son who never gave them any trouble, a giver, a helper, someone of whom they were intensely proud. A young man who loomed large in their lives, whose presence will be impossible to replace.”

Stephen had recently started work as a welder/fabricator with Banbridge-based engineering company ENE at the end of March and Brian Niblock from ENE paid tribute to his qualities.

“He had only been with us a short time and was a real good worker. He was easy to get on with and was a great addition to the team.

“Stephen always had a smile on his face and there is a very sombre mood in work as we all try to take in what has happened.”

It is believed Stephen had been helping to cover the silo following the first cut of silage, when he was overcome with fumes.

The Health and Safety Executive confirmed it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.