Shock and sadness at tragic loss of ‘truly brilliant vet’ Wilson Kennedy

Tributes have been paid to a “brilliant vet” who had “a lovely kind and quiet way with animals” following his death in a tragic road collision.

Wilson Kennedy (69), was killed when the farm cart / quad-type vehicle he was driving was involved in a collision with a Seat Ibiza car on the Irish Hill Road near Straid, on the outskirts of Ballyclare yesterday evening (Friday).

Mr Kennedy, who lived in the area near the crash, was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

The death of the well known and highly respected veterinary surgeon has shocked and saddened the community.

Wilson Kennedy

Colleagues at Clare Vet Group, of which he was a key founder, said on their Facebook page:

“It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of one of our beloved senior vets, Mr Wilson Kennedy.

“Mr Kennedy was well known within the community and will be sorely missed by the practice, our clients and the animals that he faithfully served over the years.

“We wish to express our sincerest condolences to Mrs Kennedy and his immediate family in this time of loss.”

Police have appealed for witnesses or drivers who have dash-cam footage of the crash on the Irish Hill Road to come forward. Picture: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Mr Kennedy has also been remembered fondly on social media by many members of the public who respected his caring way with animals.

“A brilliant vet - caring, empathetic and a gentle man,” is how one person described him.

Another spoke of him as “a compassionate, caring and humble gentleman and a truly brilliant vet”.

A woman who had worked with the popular vet in the past said his death had brought “a big loss to the veterinary community”.

Police on the Irish Hill Road outside Ballyclare. Photograph by Declan Roughan / Press Eye

South Antrim MLA Steve Aiken said: “Wilson will be sadly missed by all - we extend our sympathies to the Kennedy family”,

Mr Kennedy qualified in 1975 from Glasgow University. His interest in veterinary work stemmed from growing up on a farm and having been fascinated by the work of the farm vets. He always had an interest in livestock and enjoyed farming his own sheep.

He is described on Clare Vet Group’s website as someone who always enjoyed meeting clients and helping their pets and as a keen orthopaedic surgeon, he got a lot of satisfaction in seeing the animals fully recover.

The road crash in which Mr Kennedy was killed was reported to police shortly after 8pm on Friday evening.

A female passenger travelling in the Seat Ibiza was taken to hospital following the collision.

Police said the 26-year-old driver of the Seat Ibiza was arrested on suspicion of offences in relation to the collision and he has since been released on bail pending further enquiries.

Police have issued an appeal for anyone who can help with their inquiries to get in touch.

Anyone who witnessed what occurred, or who may have dashcam footage or any other information, is urged to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1835 of 21/05/21.