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'He did extraordinary things' - warm tributes at Northern Ireland cleric's funeral who was found dead at home age 47

By Staff Reporter

Grieving friends and family gathered at a small rural church yesterday for the funeral of Presbyterian minister Rev Roy Campbell.

The little church at Corrick, Co Tyrone, holds around 100 people - but more than twice that number attended the service.

Read more: Presbyterian minister Roy Campbell (47) found dead at Tyrone home

Rev Campbell (47), minister of Clogher and Glenhoy Presbyterian Church, died earlier this week at his home.

His friend Rev Robert Herron - clerk of the Omagh Presbytery - described Rev Campbell's sudden death as a tragedy for his wife, children and family circle.

A family spokesperson told reporters: "The family circle are thankful for the life of Roy and would like to convey their thanks to everyone who has supported them with prayer and deed in the last few days."

At the service, Rev George Johnston of Newtowncrommelin paid tribute to the man he had known since his schooldays over 30 years ago.

"I'd known him from October 1983, when he would have just started secondary school and I was a young minister at the time in Plumbridge, Co Tyrone," he said.

Rev Campbell had been a friendly, outgoing, inquisitive teenager who grew up on the family farm, his friend said.

It was while studying at theological college in Pennsylvania in the United States that Rev Campbell met Tonya, who would become his wife, and they would build their lives together in Northern Ireland.

In paying tribute to his friend, Rev Johnston said: "I was his minister and have been his lifelong friend in the ministry.

"It's a dreadful loss for those who knew him.

"I think the mark of the man was that Roy was a very ordinary individual - but he did extraordinary things.

"He would always have seen himself just as an ordinary guy, and as such, related very well to people.

"Roy had a very genuine Christian faith, shared by his family."

The small country church had to erect a marquee to cope with the numbers of people who had wanted to attend Rev Campbell's funeral.

About 250 people were present - an indication of the high esteem in which Rev Campbell had been held by the whole community, Rev Johnston said.

Earlier this week a memorial service was held at Rev Campbell's previous congregations to remember him.

Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, the Right Rev John McDowell, was among those paying tribute.

Bishop McDowell, one of the Church of Ireland's representatives at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Belfast this week, said: "I would like to extend my own sympathy, and the sympathy of the wider Church of Ireland family in the Diocese of Clogher to the Rev Roy Campbell's family circle following his sudden and unexpected passing.

"His work for his church and community in the Clogher Valley was greatly appreciated.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Tonya and the children Gershom and Joanna at this difficult time."

His family requested donations in lieu of flowers to be made to Clogher Presbyterian Church in aid of its window fund, and Glenhoy Organ Fund.

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