The wife of the late Raymond Mavitty (62) has spoken of her shock following her husband’s unexpected death after he had been recovering well from a recent liver transplant.

The “hardworking” farmer from Culkey, Enniskillen died on Tuesday, December 29 from Hypertensive Heart Disease caused by high blood pressure, just four months after undergoing a successful liver transplant.

‘Got on with everyone’

“It was a complete shock and him so healthy,” said Raymond’s heartbroken wife Lorraine Mavitty.

“I don’t think he should have died. He just went to sleep and never woke up. It was a sudden death,” she told this newspaper.

Lorraine described her late husband as a man who “got on with everyone”.

“He loved everybody and everyone called him a real gentleman. He would’ve talked to anyone,” she said.

“His whole life was farming; dairy cows, beef cattle, suckling cows and we used to have sheep,” she added, explaining that it was their mutual interest in agriculture that first brought them together.

“We knew each other from our school years. He used to be up putting silage in at my grandfather’s place and I used to tell him that my tractor was better than his tractor,” said Lorraine, laughing as she reminisced.

Married 29 years, the couple were due to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this August. Together they had six children who Raymond was a devoted father to.

“We had five children in four years, we had Ian, David, Lisa, Sarah and Niall, who are twins,” said Lorraine.

“We lost our first child Ian at seven and a half years of age, in a disused tank on his uncle’s farm. When we lost Ian we decided we’d have another one, 10 years after the twins. He’s called Richard Ian,” she said.

Lorraine noted that Raymond would have done anything for his children.

Whole family close

“Two cutties [his daughters] left this year to get a house and he tongued more about them leaving. He didn’t want them to leave. He just wanted them all in the house and that was it,” said Lorraine, explaining that the whole family are very close.

When asked about her husband’s personality, Lorraine said he was very hardworking.

“He was go, go, go. There was no time to sit down, no time to take tea, it had to be done. This had to be done, that had to be done. ‘You can take tea later on,’ he’d tell you.

“But at the same time he’d take tea himself every five minutes of the day,” she added with a laugh.

Aside from his passion for farming, Raymond had a keen interest in bowls and was a long-time member of Granshagh Bowling Club.

“He loved going out to the bowls on a Wednesday and Saturday night,” said Lorraine, explaining that her husband, who was in the club for over 40 years, introduced her and their children to the sport, which they were all able to enjoy together.

On the day of Raymond’s funeral, club members formed a guard of honour at the gates of Rossorry Church as his funeral cortège passed through.

‘Never looked back’

Over the years, Raymond experienced ill health. He first took sick not long after his son died, in 1999.

“His heart and valve wasn’t formed right when he was born. They figured this out when he went for a heart scan,” said Lorraine.

Raymond had an operation in London in 2012 where he had a mechanical valve put in his heart.

“He never looked back after that,” she said, before adding: “Then three years ago he went all yellow here on me at home. We didn’t know what it was.”

It was later determined that Raymond required a liver transplant to save his life. In August 2020, he attended King’s Hospital in London where he received his liver transplant.

High blood pressure

“He came back home and he was still under Belfast Care and doing fierce well. They couldn’t believe it. He was up on December 15 for a check up and they were very pleased with him,” said Lorraine. At this stage Raymond was back working and “never sat down”. During his appointment, Raymond was told that he had high blood pressure.

“They done nothing about it,” said Lorraine.

“He was going on the best and looking forward to the new year and all the different plans we had,” said Raymond’s grieving widow.

On the morning of Tuesday, December 29, Raymond was found dead in his bed.

Raymond’s funeral service led by Canon Ian Ellis took place on Sunday, January 3 at Rossorry Church, followed by burial in the adjoining churchyard. The funeral was arranged by WT Morrison Funeral Directors.

Beloved husband of Lorraine, dearly loved father of David, Lisa, Sarah, Niall, Richard and the late Ian, dear brother of Esdille, Charles, Thelma and the late Barbara, Raymond is greatly missed by the whole family circle.