Northern Ireland

Lord Erne, former Lord Lieutenant of Fermanagh, dies aged 78

Lord Erne
Image caption Lord Erne was "a true friend" of County Fermanagh, according to UUP MP Tom Elliott

Tributes have been paid to Lord Erne, who has died aged 78.

Henry George Victor John Crichton was the sixth earl of Erne, and had lived at Crom Estate in County Fermanagh since 1958.

He was a former Lord Lieutenant of Fermanagh.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster said he was "a man of such distinction and really proud of being from Fermanagh".

Image caption Lord Erne and his son, Viscount Crichton, featured in a BBC documentary about Crom Estate in 2013

"He was very well respected in the community and there will be a great sense of sadness across Fermanagh," Mrs Foster said.

"No matter where I met him he had words of encouragement for me and my deepest sympathy is with his widow, the Lady Erne, his son John and all the family today."

Tom Elliott, the MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said Lord Erne "was a generous individual with his time and community support".

"The earl managed [Crom] Estate and castle as a home, but also, in recent years in partnership with others, progressed the development of the estate, including the west wing as an area that was a major tourist attraction and hosted many events," the Ulster Unionist said.

Image caption Lord Erne had lived at Crom Castle in County Fermanagh since 1958

"Fermanagh has lost an honourable citizen and true friend."

In 2013, Lord Erne and his son, Viscount Crichton, featured in a BBC documentary on Crom Castle.

Lord Erne said he had inherited the estate and the castle near Newtownbutler after his father died when he was two years old.

He gave the 1,900-acre estate, one of Northern Ireland's most important conservation areas, to the National Trust in 1987.

In the film, he said: "I've spent a lifetime looking after this place and I can't describe how much I love it."