Tributes have been paid to late farmer and mechanic Sam Heaslip, a strong, loving and caring man with a “big soft heart” who always put others first.

Mr. Heaslip (94) passed away following a short time of illness on Friday, July 24 2020, just a few weeks off his 95th birthday on August 4.

“He would’ve farmed and tinkered with various machinery right up til then,” explained Mr. Heaslip’s daughter Caroline Bell, speaking on behalf of her siblings.

“Only recently he was photographed on his T20 Diesel and mower out topping a field,” she added.

Highly regarded as a gentleman, Mr. Heaslip was widely known for his kind and generous nature, and quick wit.

“He was witty and he would always have been positive. He was called a ‘character’ by many,” shared Caroline, adding that her father would’ve made himself available to help out anyone at their time of need:

“He was always there to help us out if there was ever a problem, he was always the one that kept things together.

“If anyone was panicking he would control the situation. We’d call him a rock, and he was the glue that held us all together.”

Originally from Moher, Carrickaboy, Co. Cavan, Mr. Heaslip was a progressive mechanic who ran his own garage selling tractors and machinery.

He moved to Ballydoolagh, Enniskillen in the early 1980’s where he continued to farm livestock and grow his own potatoes.

Mr. Heaslip had a great love and enormous knowledge of vintage cars, tractors and machinery.

“This love brought him to many shows and auctions countrywide,” said Caroline.

She added: “He was a member of Brookeborough Vintage Society and hosted many Ploughing and Threshing days on his farm to raise money for many causes close to his heart. He was also a committee member of Fermanagh and Tyrone ploughing association.”

Aside from his great interest in vintage vehicles, Mr. Heaslip was also fond of dancing and enjoyed attending dances at church halls with his wife Hazel in days gone by. “He loved dancing, he and my mother were great dancers, waltzing and that,” recalled Caroline.

“He was a good social person and he would have had many friends who would’ve popped in to see him.

“We would’ve all been popping in to him all different times and he would’ve always been delighted to see you. He wouldn’t have wanted you going out of your way.

“He would have always put others first, he would often say to me, ‘aw you’ve an awful journey to go home’, things like that. He was a people person with a big personality,” she added.

Pre-deceased by his wife Hazel, Mr. Heaslip is fondly remembered by his loving children Elaine, Caroline, Audrey and Noel, grandchildren, great grandchildren and the wider family circle.

“I’m going to miss my daddy so much. To me he was a strong, loving, caring man with a big soft heart,” shared Mr. Heaslip’s daughter Elaine Armstrong.

“The biggest thing we’ll miss is you’d arrive at his house and he’d be there in his big chair.

“He will be sadly missed by all who knew him,” Caroline told this newspaper.