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Parents mourn their 'best friend' as son laid to rest after car crash

By Rebecca Black

Published 24/06/2015

Friends comfort each other at the funeral of Ryan Mills at Christ Church in Derriaghy yesterday
Friends comfort each other at the funeral of Ryan Mills at Christ Church in Derriaghy yesterday
Ryan Mills

A young Co Antrim man his parents described as "their best friend" has been buried following a fatal road crash last week.

Hundreds gathered at Christ Church in Derriaghy yesterday to bid their final farewells to Ryan Mills.

The 21-year-old died following a collision with a lorry on the Moira Road in Crumlin last Friday.

The Rev Canon John Budd led the funeral service and issued thanks to the local community and emergency workers on behalf of the Mills family for their support.

He recalled the young man's love of cars and Manchester United football team.

A Honda Civic car that Ryan had spent more than a year painstakingly restoring sat outside the church in tribute.

Ryan attended Laurelhill Community College in Lisburn before going on to train as a joiner at the South Eastern Regional College.

For the last number of years, he had been working across Northern Ireland and the Republic as well as further afield for Northern Ireland Climbing Frames.

Rev Budd said evidence of Ryan's work could be seen in climbing frames at schools, parks and clubs across the country which was a source of a little solace to the family at this very difficult time. "He enjoyed his work and he valued the friendships he had at work and school alike," Rev Budd told the congregation of around 250 mourners.

"Some of those friendships have lasted for many years.

"Indeed when he wasn't working, he was often at the gym or playing football with his friends. Ryan's parents were extremely proud of their eldest son and they described him as their best friend.

"But if we are talking of friendships, the friendship that stands out is Ryan's love for his girlfriend, Lauren.

"They had enjoyed their first foreign holiday together just recently and had many hopes and plans for the future."

Rev Budd continued: "The events of last Friday draw a very sharp line between the past and the future for everyone who knew Ryan and loved him.

"Exactly what happened that afternoon, and why, we do not yet know, and we may never do so."

Ryan is survived by his parents John and Gwen, five younger siblings and his long term girlfriend Lauren.

His death brings the road toll in Northern Ireland to 34, two more than at the same time last year.

Last year's total was 79 people killed, well up from 57 in 2013. That reversed a downward trend for some years.

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