TRAGIC LOSS

STARS from the world of country and western music, including Daniel O'Donnell, have been paying tribute to a Dromara man who was killed last week in a road accident in Omagh.

Sixty-year-old Desmond Bingham was struck by a car at Curr Road, Beragh, shortly after 8.30pm last Monday night.

The country and western and old tyme dancing fan had been on his way to a show in the area.

Mr Bingham, who lived at Enagh Road all his life, was the only son of the late Olaf and Jean Bingham. He is survived by his girlfriend Beth (Rathfriland); five cousins John (Kilkinamurray), Robert (Isle of Man), Winnie (Carnew), Wilfred (Gransha) and Edith (Lisburn) and a wider family circle.

After leaving school he worked at Hillsborough Research Institute from which he took early retirement approximately a year and a half ago. His cousin John said Desmond was a huge country and western fan and travelled the length and breadth of Ireland to attend shows. He also enjoyed gospel music.

"He loved country and western, old tyme dancing and sequence dancing and he followed all the shows," he said. "It wouldn't have mattered how far away it was." Last Monday night Desmond was going to the Omagh area for a show when the fatal accident occurred. It appears he had parked his car and crossed the road to a filling station when he was struck by another car.

"It was a very big shock for us and an even bigger shock for his dancing partner, Beth, who lives in Rathfriland," John said. "She is devastated."

Desmond was a man who kept himself to himself, but through his love of country and western he became known by all of the stars.

"There wasn't one star that didn't know him and people have been ringing Beth from as far away as Wexford," said John.

"Daniel O'Donnell even called her and on Tuesday her phone didn't stop ringing. There were a lot of local stars at the funeral as well, including Warren Smyth who lives locally."

Last Thursday's funeral took place to Drumgooland Presbyterian Church, the Rev Michael Davidson officiating, with interment in the adjoining burial ground. Organist was Mrs Olene Barlow.

Family flowers were placed on the grave and donations in lieu of flowers are being sent to R.J. Poots and Co, 6 Circular Road, Dromore, for Drumgooland Presbyterian Church Sunday School.

Meanwhile, police in Omagh are appealing to anyone who witnessed the collision, particularly the driver of a blue and white Scania tractor unit, to contact them on 0845 600 8000.