herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Emmerdale and Heartbeat dies in flood despite neighbour's heroic rescue bid

Roger Grainger died when his car was swept into a ditch
Roger Grainger died when his car was swept into a ditch
Roger Grainger

A man has spoken of how he waded into flood waters to try and save his actor friend after his car was swept away in a storm.

Anglican minister Roger Grainger had appeared in a number of hit television programmes, including Emmerdale, Heartbeat and the Last of the Summer Wine.

He had been a visitor to Mayo for more than 40 years and had bought a cottage at Doogort on Achill Island just six weeks ago.

The 81-year-old died on Sunday night as he drove home from dinner at a local guest house on the island.

READ MORE: Face of retired priest who was swept to his death as floods ravage island roads

Flood waters caused his vehicle to veer into a ditch and the semi-retired minister died at the scene.

"I carry a life-vest in my car and I put it on me and waded into the water," said Paul McNamara, a local councillor who was a neighbour and friend of Lancashire-born Rev Grainger.

"The road was submerged in water. It has flooded before, but never to this extent. Elderly residents said they had never seen a flood like it here.

Shock

"Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do. People are in deep shock at the loss of a gentleman who has been coming here for decades."

Church of Ireland minister Rev Val Rodgers said the dead man, a close friend of his, was "a dynamo" who had been seconded to the Tuam diocese to help him at services on the island.

The tragic accident was one of a number of incidents throughout the country following a weekend of torrential downpours

Met Eireann extended its severe weather warning for Munster until midnight last night.

However, the forecaster said it was still too early to say whether or not the remnants of tropical storm Henri will hit Ireland's east coast tomorrow.

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