Death of former soldier Simon Chase: Union flag flies at half-mast as Limavady mourns adopted son
The Union flag flew at half-mast yesterday at Limavady war memorial, with only the occasional breath of wind lifting it off the pole.
There was an undercurrent of sorrow in the Co Londonderry town as the horrors of a far-off warzone darkened its doorstep.
At churches across the town prayers were said for Simon Chase, an Englishman who had been easily adopted by the townspeople as one of their own.
Mr Chase – 'Si' to those who knew him – had made Limavady his home for the past 20 years and was described as a "son" of the town.
Friends and relatives of the father-of-two spoke of their sadness of the passing of a man who they said was "always ready with a joke".
At the Corner Bar, where he was a doorman, Anthony Doherty described Mr Chase as a "great character".
He added: "He was a very easy-going man, everyone got on the very best with him.
"He was very placid and would never see the wrong in anyone – he will be missed."
Deputy Mayor James McCorkell said that he would now explore how the local borough council could best honour the passing of Mr Chase.
"Simon was carrying out an incredibly important, yet highly dangerous job," he said.
"He was extremely brave and fearless in his service, yet also incredibly kind and loving to those he had gone out to protect."
Ulster Unionist councillor Jack Rankin said: "Prayers were said in our church yesterday for Simon, as I am sure they were across the town.
"This has shocked people and the community has been left deeply traumatised by this. It has been a long time since a tragedy of this nature has come to Limavady.
"Everyone who knew him has a good word to say about him, he was a well-liked person and very well-thought of.
"By all accounts he was a decent chap and a family man.
"My heartfelt sympathies go out to the family and his friends at this terribly sad time for them," he added.