Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Tribute to rugby star at memorial

Thousands of rugby fans from across Ireland gathered at Ulster's home ground Ravenhill in Belfast to pay tribute to Nevin Spence
Thousands of rugby fans from across Ireland gathered at Ulster's home ground Ravenhill in Belfast to pay tribute to Nevin Spence
The three coffins leave Ballynahinch Baptist church, in Co Down after the funeral service of Noel Spence, 68, and his sons Graham, 30, and Nevin, 22 who all died trying to save each other in a slurry tank
The funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church
The funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church
Ravenhill Rugby Club on the day of the Spence funerals
Nevin Spence's coffin is covered with his Ulster Flag Jersey after his funeral service at Ballynahinch Baptist church, in Co Down
Jim Neilly
Nevin Spence coffin drapped in his Ulster Rugby Heineken Cup jersey.
Edwin Poots MLA and family friend
Family members at the head of the funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt (left) attending the Spence funeral.
Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte (left) pictured at the funeral
A police officer salutes Nevin Spence's coffin as it leaves the church after the funeral service
Ulster player Tommy Bowe pictured at the funeral
Ulster captain Johann Muller pictured at the funeral.
The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson arrives at the funeral
Ravenhill Rugby Club on the day of the Spence funerals. Photograph by Declan Roughan
The Spence family arrive at Ballynahinch Baptist church, in Co Down for the funeral service of Noel Spence, 68, and his sons Graham, 30, and Nevin, 22. Photo PA
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeThe funeral of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.Ulster rugby player Paddy McAllister (centre) walking in the funeral cortage.
The Spence family arrive at Ballynahinch Baptist church, in Co Down for the funeral service of Noel Spence, 68, and his sons Graham, 30, and Nevin, 22. Photo PA
The Spence family arrive at Ballynahinch Baptist church, in Co Down for the funeral service of Noel Spence, 68, and his sons Graham, 30, and Nevin, 22. Photo PA
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeThe funeral of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.Harry Sinclaie Ulster Farmers Union President.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeFamily members at the head of the funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.UUP leader Mike Nesbitt (left) attending the Spence Funeral.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeThe funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeThe funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeThe funeral of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeThe funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.
@Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland -19th September 2012Mandatory Credit - Brian Little/ PresseyeThe funeral cortage of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham (30) and Nevin (22) at Ballynahinch Baptist Church, who died in an farming accident on Saturday evening.
19/9/12 PACEMAKER BELFAST. Essie Spence is comforted by family members at todays funeral in Ballynahinch of Noel, Nevin and Graham Spence who died following a tragic farming accident at their Hillsborough home at the weekend. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
19/9/12 PACEMAKER BELFAST. Surviving family member Emma Rice at todays funeral in Ballynahinch of father Noel and brothers Nevin and Graham Spence who died following a tragic farming accident at their Hillsborough home at the weekend. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
Funerals at Ballynahinch Baptist Church for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel
Funerals at Ballynahinch Baptist Church for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel
Emma Spence twice risked her life to try and save her brothers and father
Nevin Spence, 22, came to prominence playing for Ulster Rugby and was a rising star in Ireland's international rugby scene
Ulster rugby player Nevin Spence who was killed, along with his father and brother in a farming accident
Book of condolence opened at Ravenhill rugby ground for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel who died in a slurry tank accident on the family farm outside Hillsborough in Co. Down. Tributes placed at Ravenhill
Book of condolence opened at Ravenhill rugby ground for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel who died in a slurry tank accident on the family farm outside Hillsborough in Co. Down. Tributes placed at Ravenhill
A painting of Nevin Spence by his sister Emma.
Book of condolence opened at Ravenhill rugby ground for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel who died in a slurry tank accident on the family farm outside Hillsborough in Co. Down. Tributes placed at Ravenhill
Artist Emma Spence from Hillsborough County Down pictured at her studio in a barn at the rear of her father's farm. ©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland.25th February 2011
Pacemaker Press 17/9/2012 Graham Spence
Graham Spence at his Hillsborough farm.
Nevin Spence on the family farm. Pacemaker press
Ulster's Nevin Spence
Nevin Spence, father Noel and brother Graham
Nevin Spence playing for Ulster last December against the Scarletts
Nevin Spence at Ulster's summer camp
Nevin Spence in action for Ulster against Bath
Nevin Spence with Ulster team-mate Nigel Brady back in December 2010
Nevin Spence relaxing down on the farm
Nevin Spence (far left) with young Oscar Knox who suffers from a rare form of cancer
Gifted: Accident survivor Emma Spence on the family farm
Emma Spence in her artist's studio
Emma Spence's portrait of brother Nevin on the rugby pitch
Ulster's Nevin Spence
Horror: The Spence farm, where emergency services attended on Saturday night after four people were overcome by fumes
Horror: The Spence farm, where emergency services attended on Saturday night after four people were overcome by fumes
Tributes for Nevin Spence and his family left at Ravenhill
A family console each other while reading messages of condolence at the home of Ulster Rugby
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Nevin Spence, who died alongside his father Noel and brother Graham
Ulster's Nevin Spence
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.

A team-mate of tragic rugby star Nevin Spence has told an emotional memorial service that he was the epitome of all that is good in the game.

The 22-year-old Ulster Rugby player died alongside his brother Graham, 30, and father Noel, 58, when they were overcome by poisonous fumes in a slurry tank at the family farm in Hillsborough, Co Down, last weekend.

Thousands of rugby fans from across Ireland gathered at Ulster's home ground Ravenhill in Belfast to pay tribute to a man tipped for greatness in the sport.

Ireland and Ulster player Rory Best spoke on behalf of the team during the religious service, which was attended by grieving members of the Spence family.

"Nevin was a team player," said Best.

"The sort of player that every team needs but few are lucky enough to truly find.

"This was obvious every time he ran out at Ravenhill because Nevin loved rugby, he loved representing his province, the fans, his neighbours, his church and especially his family.

"This enjoyment of the game meant that Nev was one of the most consistent performers for Ulster over the last two seasons.

"Nev has left Ulster Rugby in a much better place than he found it and as a player, a colleague and friend, his memory will continue to shape Ulster Rugby for years to come.

"Nev, we will miss you but we will never forget you."

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