Businessman Tom Topping dies after suspected farm accident
Larne businessman Tom Topping has died after a suspected farm accident in Co Antrim.
The owner of Topping Meats, a big supplier in Co Antrim, and previous owner of the Highways Hotel in Larne died on Monday.
Mr Topping, who was aged in his 70s, passed away following an incident involving a vehicle, according to locals. The Health and Safety Executive is investigating.
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson, a neighbour of Mr Topping, described him as a “gentleman.”
“Tom was a well-known businessman in the area, employing hundreds of people over the years. He probably dealt with every farmer in the area,” he said.
“I am gobsmacked at his death as I only saw him last night.
“He had such a close family with his two sons and daughter, who are devastated. I believe all his family worked with him, so he wasn’t just their dad, he was their business partner. They are such a close-knit family.”
Mr Wilson said Mr Topping was well-known across the community.
He added: “Tom was involved in so much across the Larne area, from sports to business clubs – there wouldn’t have been an event you would have gone to without seeing him.
“He was associated with so many organisations. It’s a terrible tragedy.”
Local councillors have also paid tribute.
DUP councillor Paul Reid said his “thoughts and prayers were with the family” and fellow DUP councillor Greg McKeen also shared his condolences.
“Tom was well known in the farming and local business community – my thoughts go out to his family,” he added.
Alliance councillor Robert Logan said: “It’s very sad for his family and a terrible shock to them with his happening so suddenly – my thoughts are with them all at this time.”
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police (attended) the scene of the sudden death of a man in his 70s in the Rectory Road area of Larne. The death is not being treated as suspicious at this time.
“Police have advised the Health and Safety Executive, and will provide assistance with their investigation.”
A spokesperson for the Health and Safety Executive added: “HSENI has received a report of an incident on a farm and enquiries are underway to establish the circumstances surrounding it.”