Funerals Held After Gillingham Helicopter Crash

24 March 2014, 13:05 | Updated: 24 March 2014, 14:43

The funerals of Lord Ballyedmond and Declan Small who died in a helicopter crash in Gillingham on the Norfolk/Suffolk border have been held.

Lord Ballyedmond, a peer and leading industrialist, was described as being an example of what hard work and determination can achieve.

He was killed earlier this month along with three others after the helicopter came down shortly after take-off in thick fog.

Also known as Dr Edward Haughey, the 70-year-old businessman, who lived in Co Down, was considered to be one of Ireland's richest men, with estimated wealth in excess of £800 million.

At requiem mass in Newry Cathedral, Co Down, Canon Francis Brown said the tycoon used his fortune for good, making many significant unpublished donations to charities and educational establishments.

The cleric said: "Lord Ballyedmond's death is painful for many people.

"Many people in Newry, and far beyond are suffering a huge loss. They are identifying, in the best way they can, with the pain and tremendous loss suffered by his wife Mary, his daughter Caroline, his sons Edward and James, the Haughey family and Edward's many friends."

He was best known as the chairman and founder of Co Down-headquartered Norbrook Laboratories, the largest privately-owned pharmaceutical company in the world.

"He was a self taught, hard working, determined individual who had a thirst for knowledge" said Canon Brown.

Stressing the importance the businessman's family held in his life, the priest said the "great influence" he had on others extended beyond relations and friends.

"Edward made many significant donations over the years to educational establishments and charitable organisations.

"Most of these were never published and many charities and schools in the locality benefited. He had a keen interest in the development of the science subjects in all educational establishments."

The service, which was attended by hundreds of mourners, was held ahead of burial across the Irish border in Lord Ballyedmond's native county of Louth.

Declan Small, Dr Haughey's site foreman at the Norbrook plant in Newry, also died in the crash. The 42-year-old's funeral was held yesterday in his home town of Mayobridge, Co Down.

Helicopter pilots Capt Carl Dickerson, 36, and Capt Lee Hoyle, 45, were also killed when the Agusta Westland AW139 came down in a field. The cause of the crash isn't known yet but the Air Accidents Investigation Branch are looking into it.