Isle of Whithorn in Wigtownshire mourns ‘a great friend’ after Nepal air tragedy

THE resident of a Scottish village who perished in the Nepal air tragedy has been described by friends as a “larger than life” individual.

Darren Kelly, from the Isle of Whithorn in Wigtownshire, had intended to visit Nepal in 2011 but was forced to rearrange the trip after it was cancelled due to bad weather.

The 45-year-old, who was married to Jannine, was a well-respected figure in the small harbourside village and he “inspired confidence” in others, according to those who knew him.

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Originally from the Lostock area of Bolton, Lancashire, he and Jannine moved to Whithorn about five years ago and later married. A property developer who renovated buildings for holiday lets, he overhauled a derelict warehouse there, turning it into a property named Ninian’s Landing.

He was also a director of Isle Futures, a regeneration initiative in the village, and played an active part in community life, co-ordinating beach clean-ups and sponsoring events such as firework nights. In his spare time, he was an avid sea diver, and served as vice-chair and assistant diving officer of Newton Stewart Sub Aqua Club.

Chris Harrison, a member of the club who dived with Mr Kelly earlier this month, said: “Darren was a great friend and it’s quite a shock to learn he’s no longer with us. He had a very dynamic personality and was a larger than life character.

“He was someone who inspired a lot of confidence and a lot of trust – he was very competent in his abilities.”

Mr Harrison added: “He was meant to go to Nepal last year, but he didn’t actually go. He got as far as the airport and the weather had turned, and the holiday was cancelled.

“Everyone is very sad and realises it’s a great loss for the club and an even greater loss for Darren’s family.”