Tributes to ‘gentle-hearted’ man after tragic accident

Tributes to ‘gentle-hearted’ man after tragic accident

24 July 2019

GLOWING tributes have been paid to a Downpatrick man who lost his life in a car accident on the outskirts of Newcastle last Friday.

John Blaney (32) died in a two-car collision on the Ballagh Road at an area known locally as the Bloody Bridge.

He was was on his way to Kilkeel where his partner Barbara Jensikova lives with her daughter, Pav, after attending his friend’s funeral in Downpatrick when the accident happened.

Mr Blaney’s funeral service was held yesterday morning at St Patrick’s Church in Saul with tributes to him led by his family, friends and colleagues at Kilkeel’s Mourne Grange where Mr Blaney worked.

Mr Blaney was educated at St Patrick’s Grammar School with his family saying he was “very much loved and will be missed terribly by every single one of them”. 

Lizzie Dixon, manager of Mourne Grange, which provides opportunities for adults with different abilities, said everyone at the supported living facility is ”devastated”.

She described Mr Blaney as a “a lovely, gentle-hearted man and that nothing was too much trouble for him.”

Ms Dixon continued: “The residents here loved him and so did all the staff. Many of them worked with John in the garden as part of a project designed to help residents engage with each other and their environment.

“They loved being outdoors with John and growing vegetables with him,” Ms Dixon continued.

“It was more than just a job to John. He was very good to them and he always went out of his way.

“John was also a big help with fundraising. He quickly became a member of our family and will be sorely missed,” she added.

It has also emerged that Mr Blaney and his partner, who also works at the supported living centre in Kilkeel as a support worker, had been looking forward to celebrating their anniversary together.

“They would have been together two years on Saturday and they had planned to spend the day together to mark their anniversary. But, sadly, that never happened,” Ms Dixon said.

“It’s absolutely tragic. He was so young with so much still in front of him. It seems like there is just no rhyme nor reason to life sometimes.”

Mr Blaney is survived by his partner Barbara and her daughter Pav, parents Anne and Michael, sisters Cara and Emily, brother-in-law Niall, nephew Luke, niece Eva and wider family circle.

Police investigating last week’s accident have issued an appeal for information. They want to hear from anyone who may have witnessed Mr Blaney’s Citroen car in collision with a Skoda Octavia vehicle to contact them on 101.

In addition, police have also asked drivers with dash-cams who were driving near the Bloody Bridge around the time of the crash to check their footage.