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Monday 15 October 2018

'I'll have to give him his wedding ring when he's laid to rest'

Robyn Newberry and 'Matt' Campbell were organising a wedding for August until Storm Ali struck
Robyn Newberry and 'Matt' Campbell were organising a wedding for August until Storm Ali struck

The fiancee of a young man killed by a falling tree during Storm Ali has told how the couple had been due to collect their wedding rings last night, but she will now instead place his in the coffin when he is laid to rest next week.

Electrician Robert Matthew Campbell (24), known as Matt, was killed at Slieve Gullion Forest Park as strong winds swept across the North on Wednesday.

His employer, Lagan Construction Limited, said "two of our employees were involved in a serious incident while working on behalf of Northern Ireland Water".

Matt's loved ones said it seemed that the former Royal Belfast Academical Institution pupil, who grew up in Glengormley, had been hit on the abdomen by the falling tree and crushed.

His grieving fiancee Robyn Newberry (23) told how the young couple had last week sent out "save the date" cards, and were also due to put down a deposit on her wedding dress last night in preparation for their wedding next August.

Robyn, who lived with Matt in Comber, told the Belfast Telegraph: "I first realised that something was wrong when I tried to ring Matt around lunchtime and it kept going to the answering machine, which wasn't like him.

"I tried calling him six times and there was no answer. It wasn't until I was leaving work that a police officer came to my workplace and told me there had been an accident and Matt hadn't survived.

"We are just devastated - it doesn't seem real.

Perfect

"I keep thinking that he is going to get into bed beside me and everything is going to go back to normal. It shouldn't be real that my perfect man has died at the age of 24."

Robyn, whose birthday is on Sunday, said she and Matt had been excitedly making plans for the future, and it seemed that "everything was falling into place".

"We met when we were still at school," she said.

"We were both made redundant this year and we had just got ourselves back on our feet with work and had been planning our wedding - then we wanted to do a bit of travelling before we had children.

"We were supposed to be putting the deposit down on my wedding dress - he had told me a few things he would have liked it to have, and I had gone back three times to look at the one I had chosen.

"The hotel was booked, it was to be on August 31, 2019, at the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle, and we had sent the save the date cards out last week."

The couple had ordered their wedding rings last week, and Robyn collected them yesterday.

"I'm going to give one to him when he is laid to rest. It's just surreal, it shouldn't be happening to my man."

The PSNI said yesterday that a post-mortem examination was due to take place to determine the cause of death, but that it is "not being treated as suspicious at this time".

It added: "There are no further details at this time.

"The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

"Another man, aged in his 40s, was taken to hospital for treatment to his injuries."

A spokesperson for Lagan Construction Limited confirmed that two of its employees were involved in a "serious incident" at Slieve Gullion Forest Park while "working on behalf of NI Water".

She said: "We are deeply saddened to confirm that one of our employees has passed away as a result of their injuries and that another employee has been seriously injured and is currently being treated in hospital.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the two families at this time. We are offering support and counselling services to colleagues and we continue to work closely with the statutory authorities."

Assist

A spokesperson for NI Water said yesterday that it was "working closely with the Health and Safety Executive and the PSNI and will be doing everything possible to assist".

They added: "NI Water is aware of an incident involving employees of one of our contractors."

Mr Campbell's funeral will take place at 10.30am on Monday from Fleming and Cuthbert Funeral Home in Ballyclare, followed by burial in Ballyclare Cemetery.

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