Man whose body found in Kenmare Bay named as Bill Topham

Married father of three from Templenoe remembered as ‘huge figure in the community ’

The man whose body has been recovered in Kenmare Bay, where a boat capsized on Sunday, has been named as Bill Topham.

Mr Topham (55) was a married man and a father of three from the area, and worked as an electrician.

A large scale search had resumed this morning and included sea, air and ground.

His body was found at around 9.30am by a diver and recovered from the water.

Around 300 local people, including local rowing clubs and football clubs, combed the shoreline between Templenoe and Kenmare in a huge operation co-ordinated by local Sergeant Derek Fleming and two local men.

Valentia Coastguard coordinated the coastguard units from Iveragh, Castletownbere and Derrynane along with the Shannon rescue helicopter.

Mr Topham and another man had set out in a Canadian style open canoe around lunchtime on Sunday.

They were making for Kellys islands a short distance from Templenoe Pier on a duck hunting exercise, on what was the last day of the shooting season, when their boat capsized.

The accident was spotted from shore and the alarm raised.

The second man managed to swim to the island and he was rescued by the fire service who were first on the scene and was taken to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee where he is being treated for hypothermia.

Tributes have been paid in Kenmare to Mr Topham, a popular figure who was well known in GAA circles and in the wider community.

The Church of Ireland rector in Kenmare, the Reverend Michael Cavanagh spoke of the huge loss Mr Topham will be to Kenmare as well as to the church.

The searchers who turned out in such numbers were a mark of the absolute respect in which Bill was held, Rev Cavanagh said.

“Bill knew everybody, and everybody knew him,” he said.

Mr Topham’s wife, Geraldine, paid tribute to how professional the coastguard searchers were, and how sympathetic they had been. It was a comfort to the family his body had been found so quickly.

Mr Topham had been glebe warden at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland and had looked after church buildings.

“We will miss him enormously,” Reverend Cavanagh said.

The manager of the Kenmare mart, Dan McCarthy, who was also one of the searchers said he was a huge figure in the community and there was great sadness.

Local Senator Mark Daly, who with around 100 people began searching before dawn walking the shorelines between Templenoe and Kenmare, said everybody’s sympathy went out to his wife Geraldine and the family.

A post mortem is being carried out in Kerry General Hospital in Tralee.