A family faced double tragedy after a man in his 70s died at his wife’s funeral. James McAllister collapsed at the side of his wife Kathleen’s grave in Northern Ireland on Wednesday. He was reportedly shaking hands with and thanking other mourners when he took ill.

Kathleen died on Monday, the Irish News reported. Mr McAlister, a former Rivers Agency worker, was at St Mary’s Church, Cushendall, County Antrim, when he collapsed.

Father Luke McWilliams, the priest at Mrs McAlister’s funeral, said the community has been left in “shock”, adding: “Naturally it was just a big shock.” Aidan McAteer, chairman of the Ruairi Og hurling club, with which Mr McAllister was strongly associated, paid tribute as well. He said Mr McAllister was “great company, a great raconteur, a great story-teller”.