Northern Ireland news

Tributes paid to Larne businessman Tom Topping following farming death

Businessman Tom Topping
Paul Ainsworth

THE family of a Co Antrim businessman has said their world is "shattered" following his death in a suspected farming accident.

Tom Topping, who was in his 70s, died on Monday following an incident at Rectory Road outside Larne.

An investigation into Mr Topping's death is being conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A PSNI spokesperson said they are not treating the death as suspicious, and would assist the HSE in their investigation.

It is understood the father-of-three died following an incident involving a vehicle.

A well-known businessman, Mr Topping formerly ran the Highways Hotel in Larne, and was the owner of food supplier Topping Meats.

In a post to Facebook yesterday, his daughter Louise Topping wrote of her family: "To say our world is shattered is an understatement."

Ms Topping thanked the members of the emergency services who attended the scene of the accident on Monday, and asked for privacy for her loved ones, to allow "close family and friends come to terms with this tragedy".

The businessman employed hundreds of people in the Larne area over the years, and among those to pay tribute online was Topping Meats staff member Sandra Brown, who described him as "the best boss anyone could ever ask for".

A spokesperson for Hospitality Ulster said in a social media post: "A very sad loss, Tom was a gentleman and will be missed by everyone that knew him. RIP."

A "service of thanksgiving" will be held on Saturday at his Larne home before a burial service at Glynn Cemetery.

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