Mr. Vincent Murphy

THE tight-knit Newcastle community around the harbour has been shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Mr. Vincent Murphy.

A resident of King Street, Mr. Murphy died in the intensive care unit of the Ulster Hospital on Tuesday, March 16, after taking ill suddenly at his home. He was a youthful 57 who had a zest for life and a cheery word and a smile for everyone he met.

He was a highly experienced and inspirational woodwork lecturer at the Southern Regional College in Newry who was as dedicated to his work as he was to his family and his community.

He revelled in passing on his love and knowledge of woodwork to his students and was especially keen on encouraging gifted students to take part in the various Skillbuild competitions where many won medals over the years.

It was a mark of his popularity and the respect in which he was held that many of his former students called at his house and attended his funeral service at Massforth in Kilkeel.

He turned his occupation to good use within the community by 

making sets for the various productions staged by Newcastle Glee Singers. A former stage manager for the company, his sets were widely admired.

A wonderful example of his craftsmanship was the construction of a wooden clinker dinghy, called Moon Creek, several years ago. He sourced and bought trees direct from Castlewellan Forest and steamed the planks himself to create the perfect shape for what was a stunning craft. Many local residents turned out at the harbour on the day it was launched.

His devotion to his community was evident in his volunteering role within the RNLI at the Newcastle station. He was a member of the shore team before rising to the role of honorary secretary, overseeing the station and the operations conducted from it. He retired from the RNLI several years ago after years of dedicated service.

He was always a keen walker, but in more recent years he had taken up golf, painting and photography and adored taking photographs of his great nieces Isla and Kaitlyn.

Caravanning was also one of his pastimes and he had just taken delivery of a new caravan on the day he died. Even simple trips to Tollymore were fun for him and his last weekend was spent in the forest park with other caravanning friends.

The biggest passion in his life was for his wife, Lizzie, to whom he was devoted. The pair were inseparable and Lizzie often remarked that one of Vincent’s hobbies was spoiling his wife.

Over 1,000 mourners attended his funeral service on March 16 at Massforth.

He is survived by Lizzie, his parents, Peter and Mary Lucy, brothers Gerard and Justen, sisters, Anne and Mary, nieces, nephews, and his great nieces.