Holy Trinity Parish Church in Lisnaskea was full to capacity and more as people from all over the county and further afield came to pay their respects and tributes to the much loved, well known and quite remarkable Fred Clarke last Saturday, October 27.

84-year-old Fred was out working on a piece of farmland cutting down trees on Monday, October 22. One of the trees he was working on, fell on him, trapping him beneath it. The alarm was raised when he did not return home and he was found and taken to the South West Acute Hospital.

Surround by family, Fred passed away in hospital on Wednesday, October 24.

Speaking about his father, Grant Clarke paid tribute to a “gentleman” who was the life and soul of the party. As well as keeping people entertained, Fred was a hard worker who, even after a terrible farming accident five years ago in which he lost his right leg, could not just sit back and let other people do the work.

“He didn’t lie idle,” said Grant. “ He was one of those people that if you were not doing something, you were in trouble with him.”

Fred moved from Cloverhill, Co. Cavan to Lisnaskea in 1973 with his family where he became a well known face in the community through farming and other jobs he held such as a bus driver.

“He was farming all his life but he also drove a bus for the Education Authority. He used to be a relief bus driver as well so if anybody was off sick, he would cover them. He was always on the move and always had a bus run and a lot of children and parents got to know him all over the county.”

As well as being a familiar face as a bus driver, Fred was well known in the farming community, and he was regularly seen on the road in his Massey Ferguson 35.

“He covered some miles on his wee tractor, his wee 35. He used to go from Magheraveely to Derrylin and Teemore and was always on the road. He would have held up plenty of lorry men, all of Quinn’s lorry men, everyone knew him.”

The crowds that visited the Clarke house since Fred’s death have paid testament to the man he was and the respect he was held with in the community with one man telling Grant that there was never anyone who could say a bad word about Fred Clarke.

When a tractor mower practically cut off his right leg in July 2013 and he almost bled to death, Grant said this didn’t slow his father down. He was back on a tractor months later.

“He worked the harder. These last four years he did more work on the land. It didn’t hold him back. There was no more holding him back.

“He was a gentleman, an honourable man, an honest man, a working man and a wonderful father and husband, a great parent and grandfather.”

Reverend Alan Capper, who celebrated Fred’s funeral described Fred as a “humble man” who did so much but was not about promoting himself and who had a big influence on people from all walks of life.

“The people who were at the funeral were a testimony of the life that he lived. They came out to support him. It really cut deep right across the community and they came out to support Hazel and the family.”