Storm Arwen: ‘Dedicated and passionate’ headteacher among victims of falling trees during severe weather

Tributes have been paid to a “dedicated and passionate” headteacher who died after his car was hit by a falling tree as the UK was lashed by gale force winds during Storm Arwen.

Francis Lagan, principal of St Mary’s Primary School in Maghera, Northern Ireland, had been on the Dublin Road in County Antrim when the accident happened, as severe weather caused nationwide disruption, with gusts of almost 100mph in places.

Mr Lagan was among three people killed during the storm on Friday by falling trees.

A snow and ice weather warning remained in place until 11am this morning for swathes of the UK.

UK weather: The latest Sky News forecast

Writing on Twitter, Northern Ireland’s education minister Michelle McIlveen said: “I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Francis Lagan following his tragic death.

“I was privileged to visit his wonderful school. He was a dedicated & passionate principal and will be greatly missed.”

Sinn Fein assembly member Declan Kearney said Mr Lagan was a “highly respected principal”.

“I was shocked and very saddened to learn about the death of a motorist after a tree fell on his car while travelling along the Dublin Road in Antrim town on Friday evening,” he said.

“The victim of this tragedy, Francis Lagan, was a highly respected South Derry school principal, who made an immense contribution to the community which he served.

“Francis was a renowned Maghera educationalist and civic leader.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family, school colleagues and students, and the wider community of Maghera, where he was held in very great regard.”

Meanwhile, Police Scotland said a 35-year-old man died when his pick-up truck was struck by a falling tree on the B977 Dyce to Hatton of Fintray Road in Aberdeenshire on Friday.

Cumbria Police said a man from Lancaster died in Ambleside after a tree fell on him shortly before 11pm.

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