TRIBUTES have been paid to Derrymacash man John Lavery who died in a tragic accident in London.
The 44-year-old had been working in London but slipped on ice and tragically died due to the fall.
Local SDLP Councillor Declan McAlinden who knows the family well said they are “totally shocked, devastated and heartbroken”.
Mr Lavery’s parents Dessie and Marie said they would never get over the death of their ‘precious’ son.
The described the father of two as the ‘best son in the world’.
Marie and Desmond Lavery of Ballynamoney Road said John had been working as a supervisor for Mivan near Heathrow Airport when he fell to his death.
It is thought Mr Lavery slipped on ice and fell down a gap into an outside basement area when he was returning to his flat, provided by his employer in Chiswick on Friday.
He lay undiscovered as his wife, parents and siblings tried to reach him on his mobile.
The results of a postmortem examination into the joiner’s death are expected this week before his body is brought back home.
Mr and Mrs Lavery described their sorrow at the loss of ‘our lovely big son’.
They were being comforted by their other sons and daughters while supporting their daughter-in-law Mary and the couple’s son Conor (11) and daughter Seaneen (nine).
“He had worked all over the world with Mivan - in south America and Europe - and I’d worry about him being far away so we just can’t believe he died so close to home,” Marie Lavery said.
“All he wanted to do was to get home and get his family down south and touring around Ireland.
“We were due to go to Bundoran next week for a family event and he was so excited about it.
“He lived for getting home to his family. He phoned home every single morning and night to speak to Mary and the children.
“I can’t believe he has left us. You couldn’t have got a better son.
“He was very quiet and very family-orientated. He loved his family and hated to be away from them.
“He was such a big, strong, quiet lad and a big Manchester United fan.”
Mr Lavery’s father said the family were ‘in bits’ at John’s death.
“He was so happy-go-lucky and a hard worker,” he said.
“It was a good job. The firm’s workers shared the apartment,” he said.
“He had been at the firm since he was 16.
“That we are devastated does not even come close. It’s heartbreaking. It’s just a nightmare.
“We are in bits about losing John who was just a big softie and a gentle giant.” Cllr McAlinden said: “On behalf of our party I would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of John Lavery from Derrymacash.
“John, like many of us in the construction industry, recently travelled to work in England with Mivan and was due home next weekend for a planned family reunion.
“Sadly the only reunion will be for his funeral.
“I visited his family on Sunday night and they are totally shocked, devastated and heartbroken.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mary and his two children Conor and Seaneen, father Dessie and his mother Marie, brothers, sisters and entire family circle,” said Cllr McAlinden. Mivan said the dead man had been ‘well respected as a highly skilled craftsman.”
A company spokesman said Mr Lavery would be “fondly remembered by his colleagues for his quiet determination, dedication and commitment”.