Storm Arwen: First victim named as much loved headteacher after tree hit car

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The man killed after a tree struck his car during Storm Arwen has been named as a "much loved" headteacher.

Francis Lagan, believed to be in his 40s, died in the tragic incident on the Dublin Road in Antrim, Northern Ireland, yesterday.

Mr Lagan was a father of four and had been headteacher of St Mary’s Primary School in Maghera, Co Londonderry, for several years.

He is understood to have been travelling with his wife and children when strong winds uprooted a tree that struck the vehicle, reports The Mirror.

A St Mary's school statement for parents read: "It is with great pain and sadness this evening that I have to inform you of the untimely death of our much loved principal Mr Lagan.

"May his gentle soul rest in peace."

There was also a Facebook message from local sports club Watty Graham, An Gleann that read: "A great club man, coach, principal, colleague, mentor, friend but more importantly a fantastic son, brother, husband and daddy.

"We as a club and community will stand strong with the Lagan family in the days, weeks and months ahead."

The Fairhill Youth Centre wrote on Facebook: "It is with great sadness that the Management Committee and Staff of the Youth Center has learned of the sad and tragic death of the principal of Glenview Primary School Mr Francis Lagan R.I.P.

"We offer our condolences to his wife Louise his children, his father Brian sisters Roisin Anne Brenda and our former work colleague Maura and to all the Children of Glenview Primary School who attend our club faithfully. May his kind and gentle soul. Rest In Peace."

Many other tributes have been sent to Mr Lagan from friends and people who worked with him.

Children’s author Yvonne Fleming told loveBallymena.online: “I am devastated and heart broken to hear the tragic news of Francis Lagan's passing.

“When he was principal of St Mary's Primary School Gortnaghey he invited me in three times to read my books, each time I had a very welcoming experience and found him to be a real gentleman with a very kind demeanor.

“Just this week I visited him in his new school at St Mary's Primary School Glenview and received that same warm welcome. He was an outstanding principal and it is a devastating loss for the school and the community.

“My deepest sympathies go out to his wife, children and family. They will all be in my thoughts and prayers at this very sad time.”

Motorists have been warned not to travel “under any circumstances” along parts of east Scotland and north-east England while some train services were scrapped altogether as high winds, heavy rain and snowfall arrived from Friday afternoon.

The Met Office issued the rare red warning for wind from 3pm on Friday to 2am on Saturday as Storm Arwen arrived to batter the country, with gusts forecast to be as high as 90mph and waves as high as 10 metres.

As of 10pm, the Met Office said the highest gust recorded during Arwen was 78mph in Inverbervie, south of Aberdeen.

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