Tractor crash victim Philip Capper '˜a much-loved character'

Tributes have been paid to a young Dromore man who was killed in a road traffic collision on Friday night.

Philip Capper, 29, was a popular member of Battlehill Pipe Band. Pic: John Kelly

Philip Capper, from Gregorlough Road just outside the village, was a passenger in a tractor that crashed on the Back Road in Drumbo.

The driver of the vehicle, a 22-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of careless driving causing death. He has since been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Mr Capper, 29, who was originally from the Annaghmore area, was a popular member of Battlehill Pipe Band.

In a statement issued on its Facebook page, the band said it was “deeply saddened by the news” of his sudden passing.

“Philip has been a member of the band for over 15 years and has been a loyal and dedicated player, contributing greatly to our success over the years,” the post said.

“Nothing was ever a problem for Philip who was very loyal and dependable. Great qualities along with great ability on the big bass drum and will be greatly missed by us all.

“Philip enjoyed the fun with the band on the 12th & 13th and was characterised with a great big smile.

“We are really finding it hard to accept this heartbreaking news but can only imagine how the family must feel. Our thoughts and prayers are with his mum & dad Heather & Howard, his brother David and sister Joanne and extended family circle. All the members of Battlehill Pipe Band are thinking of you all at this sad time. God Bless.”

According to Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley, who knew Mr Capper for more than 20 years, his death was the second tragedy to befall the family in a matter of months.

“My thoughts are with his immediate and wider family circle, who just eight months ago lost Philip’s young cousin, Ross Capper, in a road accident in Portadown,” the DUP man said.

“Philip was a genuine, much-loved character. His sudden and sad passing has sent shockwaves throughout Northern Ireland’s farming community and beyond. I want to place on record my deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers to all of Philip’s family and friends in the days ahead.”

DUP councillor Luke Poots, who also knew Mr Capper for many years, described him as “an absolute gentleman” and said his death was “a tragic accident”.

“He was the life and soul. The whole farming community is mourning his loss. His craic will be badly missed,” he said.

The Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, councillor Uel Mackin, also expressed his shock and sadness at Mr Capper’s passing, describing the incident as “a tragedy for the entire community”.

A family notice described Mr Capper as the “adored son of Howard and Heather and much loved brother of David and Joanne”.

His funeral is due to take place at Banbridge Baptist Church on Wednesday, followed by interment at Kernan Cemetery, Portadown.