Rodgers honeymoon tragedy: Lynette and John will be laid side by side, linked forevermore
The families of a Co Down couple who died on honeymoon in South Africa have said they will be linked together forever.
John Rodgers (28) and his 26-year-old wife Lynette will be laid to rest side by side on Monday following a joint funeral at the church where they were married just two weeks ago.
The newlyweds drowned after getting caught up in a vicious riptide while swimming together at Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape.
They had been married for just six days when they were found washed up on the picturesque Robberg Beach after the freak accident.
Yesterday, their bodies were flown home from Johannesburg via Dublin ahead of the funerals on Monday.
Only then will their heartbroken families, who have been consoling each other following the unimaginable tragedy, finally be able to say a proper goodbye to their loved ones.
Rev Noble McNeely will officiate during the 11.30am funeral service at First Presbyterian Church in Holywood, after which a private burial will take place in a nearby cemetery.
The minister, who performed their wedding ceremony on October 17, confirmed that the couple, who were together for four years, will be buried side by side.
The families of John and Lynette placed a death notice with the funeral details in today's Belfast Telegraph.
It stated: "We will all miss both of them dearly. Linked together forever."
A death notice from John's employers, Calvert Office Equipment, said: "He will be greatly missed by all of us." Another notice said: "John and Lynette - we were so proud to know you, and love you so much too and just after your wedding day God had a plan for both of you, and though we cannot hug you or do the things we used to do, you're forever smiling down from heaven above."
Three days ago a memorial service was held in South Africa in honour of the tragic honeymooners, who died shortly after arriving in the popular resort town.
Using the late bride's wedding bouquet as an inspiration for a poignant tribute, purple and white flowers were placed on a wooden cross that was set in the sand at the spot where John and Lynette's lifeless bodies were discovered on October 23.
Immediately after the short ceremony, the flowered-cross was moved to a walkway by the beach to protect it from the sea and create a lasting commemoration.
John, a University of Ulster engineering graduate, and originally from Ballygowan, worked for Calvert Office Equipment in Belfast, while Lynette was a physiotherapist at the Ulster Hospital.
Hundreds of people have turned out to sign books of condolence which were opened at Holywood Library and Ards Arts Centre.
Mayor Alan Graham was one of the first to pay his respects and extend his sympathies to both families. He wrote: "On behalf of councillors and staff of Ards and North Down Borough Council, I offer sincere condolences to the families and friends of John and Lynette."