Heartbreaking scenes at Tyrone farmer’s funeral

Alistair Sloss leaves behind a wife and five children
Alistair Sloss leaves behind a wife and five children

Hundreds lined the streets on Monday to pay their respects to Tyrone man Alistair Sloss, who tragically died in a slurry-related incident on Friday evening.

The Sloss family comforted and hugged each other as their father and husband’s remains were taken from the hearse and carried into Saltersland Presbyterian Church.

The dad-of-five was laid to rest following his funeral service at the church between The Loup and Ballyronan.

The sermon was led by Pastor Andy Campbell from Lighthouse Church in Magherafelt – where Mr Sloss was a member of the congregation – and supported by Rev Gracey of Saltersland, where he had also worshipped.

Mr Sloss leaves behind his wife Roberta, and five boys and girls, with the youngest still at primary school.

Many took to social media over the weekend to pay tribute to the family man, who was in his early 50s, while others have pointed out the pressures of the October to January slurry ban on farmers.

The week before Mr Sloss’s death, Farming Minister Michelle McIlveen acknowledged this pressure, saying her department would consider an extension “in exceptional circumstances”.

Mr Sloss, of Ruskey Road, Coagh, is understood to have been overcome with fumes after falling into a slurry pit on the eve of the spreading cut-off . He is the 12th person to have met such a fate in the last 15 years.

His funeral left his home in Coagh at 1.15pm to Saltersland Presbyterian Church.

SDLP Mid Ulster MLA and the party’s agriculture spokesperson Patsy McGlone said the community is in mourning.

Urging farmers to exercise extreme care when working with slurry, he said: “The community in Coagh is in mourning as the news of Alistair Sloss’s tragic death sinks in.

“The farming community in particular are well known to each other here and they’ll be reeling from the death of a friend.

“Alistair was extremely well respected as a good neighbour to everyone locally.”

DUP MLA Keith Buchanan has expressed his sympathies to Mr Sloss’s family.

The Mid Ulster MLA said: “This is another tragic loss within the farming community. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at the time of such devastating loss.”