Tributes to school principal who died after car was hit by falling tree

Francis Lagan died after the incident on the Dublin Road in Antrim on Friday, as high winds hit the area during Storm Arwen
Tributes to school principal who died after car was hit by falling tree

By Rebecca Black, PA

Tributes have been paid to a “renowned educationalist” who died after his car was struck by a falling tree in Northern Ireland.

Francis Lagan, principal of St Mary’s Primary School in Maghera, died after the incident on the Dublin Road in Antrim on Friday as high winds hit the area during Storm Arwen.

Sadness at his death was expressed by his school on Twitter.

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney said Mr Lagan was a “highly respected principal”.

“I was shocked and very saddened to learn about the death of a motorist after a tree fell on his car while travelling along the Dublin Road in Antrim town on Friday evening,” he said.

“The victim of this tragedy, Francis Lagan, was a highly respected South Derry school principal, who made an immense contribution to the community which he served. Francis was a renowned Maghera educationalist and civic leader.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, school colleagues and students, and the wider community of Maghera, where he was held in very great regard.”

At least two people were killed as Storm Arwen brought gusts of almost 100mph, causing road closures, train delays and power cuts across the UK.

Cumbria Police said a man from Lancaster died in Ambleside, England after a tree fell on him just before 11pm on Friday.

Marco Petagna, a UK Met Office forecaster, said: “We’ve seen some pretty severe gusts overnight with the highest speeds hitting 98mph at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland.

“Elsewhere, exposed sites in Scotland and Northern Ireland also surpassed 90mph, with 70-80mph seen more widely in the north of the UK, though parts of southern England and Wales also felt the effects of the storm.”

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