Ottawa Valley farming community grieves loss of Christopher Duncan
Published Wednesday, June 24, 2015 5:41PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, June 25, 2015 6:14AM EDT
An emotional farewell for a dairy farmer killed in a tragic farming accident last week brought farmers from across the valley together Wednesday for a procession down Pakenham’s main road.
About 50 trucks took part in the funeral procession for 22-year-old Christopher Duncan, a man described by friends and family as “the proudest dairy farmer in the valley.”
Duncan, a farm hand at Madawaba farms, was killed last Friday after an accident involving a piece of farming equipment. Duncan was airlifted to the Ottawa General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Friends said he was planning on getting engaged and taking over the family farm.
At a church service Wednesday, June 24th, 2015, Duncan’s uncle, Bill Duncan, described the young farmer as a handsome, kind-hearted, easy-going guy who could touch an eight foot ceiling without trying.
“If you needed help from him, he’d do it,” said Bill Duncan.
“He was just an all-around good guy. He’s going to be truly missed. I don’t know how we are going to get down this road without him but we will try a little bit,” he added.”
Bill Duncan thanked those first responders and family members who helped his nephew in his last moments, saying those people are “inspirational” and proved that “there is still compassion in this world.”
Friends who attended the service said they did so to support members of their grieving community and to honour Christopher Duncan’s memory. The funeral, speakers said, was meant to be a celebration of life and of love.
“Chris was a very, fine young man. He was my nephew. We are going to miss him,” one man said.
“He loved farming. It was just an unfortunate accident that happened to him,” said another local farmer. “Everybody gets a gut-wrenching feeling in your gut when something like that happens.”
According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, 14 people died in farming-related accidents between April 2010 and December 31st, 2015. Both deaths and injuries as a result of farming accidents appear to be on the rise, with 6 deaths in the 2013/2104 fiscal year compared to one death in the 2012/2013 fiscal year.