Tributes paid to Newry man who drowned while bodyboarding

May 26, 2014

The girlfriend of a Newry man who drowned after getting into difficulties while body-boarding at Portrush last weekend has paid tribute to him as “my best friend and partner”.

Stephen Pentony (25) died in the tragic incident at West Bay on Saturday 17th May.  His girlfriend, Caroline Herron, said on her Facebook page: “Freak accident bodyboarding/ripcurl last night claimed the life of my best friend and partner Stephen. Don’t know what to do.”

It is understood the couple were part of a group who were enjoying a weekend of sport on the north coast when Mr Pentony was caught up in a strong current as the tide was going out.  He was body-boarding with two other friends when they realised that he was not with them and had been carried out to sea. The pair reached the shore and raised the alarm

Coleraine Coastguard and both Portrush lifeboats were tasked to the scene and Mr Pentony was quickly found, receiving medical attention from paramedics and lifeboat personnel as soon as he was brought back to shore.

He was taken by ambulance to Causeway Hospital in Coleraine, where he later died.

At his funeral Mass in St. Catherine’s Church in Newry, Mr Pentony was described as “witty, easygoing and very giving” by Fr Cesare Decio who told mourners: “So Stephen, thank you for having been here with us until now and remember that you’ve got plenty of siblings, nieces and nephews to look after and to cheer up.”

Mr Pentony had worked as a data technician with Northern Ireland Water since December, 2013.

NI Water said in a statement: “At 25, Stephen had his life in front of him and will be sadly missed by all his colleagues.”

Mr Pentony is survived by his father Kieran, sister Leigh Jane and brothers Martin, Jamie, Kieran and Anthony.