Wife of Royal Navy chief petty officer who died in M275 crash thanks community for support
THE wife of a Royal Navy chief petty officer who died in a crash on the M275 has said her family ‘would not have gotten through’ the last few weeks without the community’s support.
Father-of-five Keith Ross died in a crash last month when his car hit a barrier on the M275 flyover and landed on the road below.
Wife Sarah described the 40-year-old, originally from County Down in Northern Ireland, as a ‘cheeky, mischievous, lovable rogue’ at his funeral, which was held on Friday at St Faith’s Church in Lee-on-the-Solent, where the pair got married in 2006.
It was also where each of their five children, Erin, Niamh, Conall, Cian and Órla, aged between 12 and two, were christened.
Sarah told The News: ‘His funeral was beautiful and completely dedicated to the wonderful man he was. It was a fitting tribute to him and all that he was - a loving husband, father, son, brother, son and brother-in-law, friend, sailor and golfer.
‘Myself and Keith’s family are so touched by the many friends, family, colleagues and shipmates who stood outside the church to pay their respects.
‘The Royal Navy did us proud and did what they do best, and we will be forever thankful for their support, dedication, professionalism and final duty to their shipmate.’
The pair’s eldest children, Erin and Niamh, read a poem in memory of their father and Keith’s younger brother Jordan shared memories of their childhood.
He said: ‘As a kid growing up, Keith was my hero, I always looked up to him and I always will.’
Sarah added: ‘We would also like to extend our thanks to the wider community within Lee-on-Solent, St Faiths Church parish, our naval family and friends, who, without their support, we would not have gotten through the last three weeks.
‘We are deeply touched by the hundreds of messages we have received from people locally and internationally, which just shows what a big character and impact Keith had on everyone he met.
‘We remain heartbroken and Keith has left a huge hole in our lives. From the bottom of our broken hearts, thank you to everyone for your outpouring of love, support and generosity.’
Keith joined the Royal Navy in 1998 as a Marine Engineer (Able Rating Second Class) and served on HMS Illustrious, HMS Liverpool, HMS Southampton, HMS Kent, HMS Brocklesby during his career before joining MCM2 Crew 7 in April 2020, to support the upgrade to Hunt Class Minehunter HMS Hurworth.
Lieutenant Commander Neil Skinner Royal Navy, Commanding Officer, MCM2 Crew 7, previously described Keith, who friends knew as Paddy, as ‘a fine gentleman’.
He said: ‘In such a small and close-knit community, the loss of CPO Ross has had a profound impact. He had a genuinely inspiring effect on all those he met and worked alongside.
‘I feel truly honoured to have had known this fine gentleman and am devastated by his tragic and sudden loss. My heart goes out to his wife Sarah, their five children, parents and his wider family, who should feel nothing but total pride in what he achieved during his 22 years serving in the Royal Navy.’
Former work colleague and close friend, Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Hall, Deputy Marine Engineering Officer, MCM2 Crew 8, said: ‘Paddy wasn’t just a shipmate, a mess member, or a watch keeper you handed over too, he was everyone’s best friend.’
Keith is husband to Sarah, father to their five children, son to his parents Cynthia and Maurice, an older brother to his sister Grainne and younger brother Jordan and a son-in-law to Kim and Jon.