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Ryan Phillips' family in tribute to Lisburn man killed in scrambler crash

By Allan Preston

Tributes have been paid to a 27-year-old Lisburn man, who died in an off-road motorcycle crash on Sunday night.

Ryan Phillips from the Whitemountain area of Lisburn died after two scrambler bikes collided at a dirt track near the M1 Park and Ride at Sprucefield.

An 18-year-old man was also hurt and was taken to hospital for treatment. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

A family notice described Mr Phillips as the "dearly beloved son of Adrian and Rita, brother of Anne-Marie and Kieran and dear Grandson of Mary McCormack".

His remains are to leave his home on the White Mountain road on Thursday at 10am proceeding to St Colman's Church, Lambeg for 11am.

Burial will take place at St Joseph's Cemetery, Magheragall.

The notice added he "will be lovingly remembered and sadly missed by his sorrowing parents, sister, brother, grandmother and the entire family circle".

Ross Manley, a school friend of Mr Phillips, told the Belfast Telegraph he was heartbroken by the loss.

"Ryan was a fantastic friend to me in school and tech. I enjoyed hanging out with him and will miss him loads," he said.

"As far as we know they bought scramblers or pit bikes on Sunday and went to the track at Sprucefield near the park and ride.

"Whatever happened, they collided."

He continued: "I've never been to the dirt track, but you can hear it from the park and ride, I assume it's not that great. I would have seen Ryan about six weeks ago.

"He was very quiet sort of guy who kept himself to himself."

DUP councillor James Tinsley passed on his sympathies to the family, and said he supported a regulated area for dirt bike racing.

"It's very unfortunate for this family and obviously my thoughts go out to them," he said.

"There's a lot of young ones on bikes in the area, so there's probably a need for a regulated track, something that's properly licensed and governed.

"That way young people who want to be on motorbikes have somewhere safe to go to. With off-road biking some people can go into a field and rake about, but they have to be careful.

"If someone wanted to build a track that would be something we would be very keen to look at."

He added: "There was a track close to where the accident happened, but I understand it's been closed down for a while. People just go in and take a chance. It's like all these things, people think it's all right until something happens unfortunately."

Mr Phillips had been a former pupil of South Eastern Regional College where he studied construction in 2008/09.

A statement from the college said: "The Governing Body, College Management Team and staff of South Eastern Regional College deeply regret the tragic passing of former student Ryan Phillips. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family circle and friends at this very sad and difficult time".

The family have requested donations to Cancer Research rather than flowers, with cheques payable to Ronnie Thompson Donations Account, c/o 20 Ballinderry Road, Lisburn BT28 1UF.

Police have also appealed for any witnesses to contact them on the non-emergency number 101.

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