Volunteers of the Downpatrick and Co. Down Railway joined with family and friends in Chapeltown last Saturday for the internment service of their friend and fellow volunteer Peter Mutton, who died suddenly in England last November.
Having just returned to Surrey, Peter suffered a stroke in the early hours of Wednesday 5th November. He was taken to hospital but subsequently had a further stroke on Friday 7th when he passed away. He had just turned 70 years old, celebrating that milestone on the 17th September.
A native of Woking, Peter first came to Northern Ireland when he was posted for three years to RAF Bishopscourt, where he was a Radar Technician, and where he met his wife Rosemary. Despite the closure of the RAF base at Bishopscourt his love of the area and Northern Ireland never dwindled and they spent half a year in County Down and half back in Surrey.
Peter was described by fellow volunteers a “big man”in many respects. In stature he stood well over six feet tall, and was big-hearted and a great worker. A stalwart of the local heritage railway for over a decade, he was also an active volunteer and founder member of the Woking Miniature Railway Society, where he was the owner of a miniature steam locomotive “Isabel”which had only recently returned to steam.
Railway members described his death as a terrible loss, as he personified all that was positive as a volunteer and was a great friend. He helped in many projects, including the laying of the north line to Inch Abbey, as well as owning “Rosie”, a track inspection vehicle which he was converting into a People Carrier.
Peter’s funeral was held in Ashford, Middlesex in November, with the local ceremony held near his Ardglass home where his ashes were interred in the graveyard of the Chapel of St. Mary.
A lot of people have worked tirelessly to create heritage railways across Britain and Ireland, but few have worked so hard to create two on either side of the Irish Sea. Peter was one of those and he will be sadly missed by those volunteers who worked alongside him. He is survived by his wife Rosemary and his four sons.