Northern Ireland

Father loses last child in County Tyrone lorry crash

Flowers at scene of crash
Image caption Flowers mark the scene of Wednesday morning's accident

A County Tyrone man whose son died in a lorry crash on Wednesday has told of the pain of losing the last of his four children.

Declan Harvey, 43, died in the accident on Melmount Road near Sion Mills.

It was the latest tragedy to hit the Harvey family. Declan's brother and a sister died of cancer and another sister of cystic fibrosis.

His father, Eddie, said his grandson came to him on Wednesday to tell him the last of his children was gone.

"Declan, not just because he was my son, but he was a true gentleman, he was everybody's friend," Mr Harvey said.

"He drove lorries from when he was able to drive lorries.

"He spent a lot of years in the continent - nearly all the years - on the continent driving and then when he decided he wasn't having enough time with his family he came home."

Eddie Harvey has had to endure a series of tragedies, losing his first son more than four decades ago.

"I had four children and he (Declan) was the last," he said.

"My first boy died in 1966 with cancer, then my daughter died in '78 with cystic fibrosis.

"Then my other daughter died at 44 with cancer, just eight years ago - she was married with two of a family.

"Her first baby died at six months old in some sort of mix-up, he got an injection on a Thursday and died on the Saturday.

"My wife died in 1981 and I had a partner for 15 years - she died seven years ago and now my son, my last son, that's my whole immediate family now."

Mr Harvey said there was nothing he could do but get on with life as best he could.

"I've had an awful rough time of it. What can you do about it, that's the luck that you're given," he said.

Image caption Declan Harvey died in the crash on the main road between Strabane and Omagh

"It's not easy a lot of the time, but you just have to get on with it."

The 75-year-old Baronscourt man said his four grandchildren were a source of comfort for him and he also paid tribute to neighbours and friends who had offered their support since Wednesday's tragedy.

"Everybody's been so very, very good," he said.

"The house since this happened, and my son's house in Strabane, it's never stopped. Last night was a terrible night but they were queued down the street to get in."

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