Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Players get time off to grieve for Nevin Spence

Book of condolence opened at Ravenhill rugby ground for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel who died in a slurry tank accident on the family farm outside Hillsborough in Co. Down.  Tributes placed at Ravenhill
Book of condolence opened at Ravenhill rugby ground for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel who died in a slurry tank accident on the family farm outside Hillsborough in Co. Down. Tributes placed at Ravenhill
Ulster rugby player Nevin Spence who was killed, along with his father and brother in a farming accident
Book of condolence opened at Ravenhill rugby ground for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel who died in a slurry tank accident on the family farm outside Hillsborough in Co. Down. Tributes placed at Ravenhill
A painting of Nevin Spence by his sister Emma.
Book of condolence opened at Ravenhill rugby ground for Ulster rugby star Nevin Spence along with his brother Graham and father Noel who died in a slurry tank accident on the family farm outside Hillsborough in Co. Down. Tributes placed at Ravenhill
Artist Emma Spence from Hillsborough County Down pictured at her studio in a barn at the rear of her father's farm. ©Press Eye Ltd - Northern Ireland.25th February 2011
Pacemaker Press 17/9/2012 Graham Spence
Graham Spence at his Hillsborough farm.
Nevin Spence on the family farm. Pacemaker press
Ulster's Nevin Spence
Nevin Spence, father Noel and brother Graham
Nevin Spence playing for Ulster last December against the Scarletts
Nevin Spence at Ulster's summer camp
Nevin Spence in action for Ulster against Bath
Nevin Spence with Ulster team-mate Nigel Brady back in December 2010
Nevin Spence relaxing down on the farm
Nevin Spence (far left) with young Oscar Knox who suffers from a rare form of cancer
Gifted: Accident survivor Emma Spence on the family farm
Emma Spence in her artist's studio
Emma Spence's portrait of brother Nevin on the rugby pitch
Ulster's Nevin Spence
Horror: The Spence farm, where emergency services attended on Saturday night after four people were overcome by fumes
Horror: The Spence farm, where emergency services attended on Saturday night after four people were overcome by fumes
Tributes for Nevin Spence and his family left at Ravenhill
A family console each other while reading messages of condolence at the home of Ulster Rugby
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.
Nevin Spence, who died alongside his father Noel and brother Graham
Ulster's Nevin Spence
Tributes left at Ulster Rugby's home ground Ravenhill for Nevin Spence and his family.

The RaboDirect PRO12 match between Zebre and Ulster in Parma, scheduled for Friday night, has been postponed as a mark of respect following the Spence family tragedy.

The round 4 match now will be played on a later date.

Ulster will return to action on September 28 when they face Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

A moment of silence will be observed at each of the other five PRO12 matches this weekend and Ravenhill is to host a memorial service on Sunday afternoon (3pm).

An Ulster Rugby statement read: “Further to the death of Ulster player Nevin Spence last weekend, the match between Zebre and Ulster due to be played on 21st September 2012 in Parma will be postponed to a later date.

“An announcement will be made in due course with the rescheduled match information.”

Among those reflecting on a young life cut down in its prime was Irish Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore who visited Ravenhill to pay his respects on behalf of the Dublin Government.

Mr Gilmore described the accident as a “deep, deep tragedy.”

“This was a huge tragedy for the family,” he said.

“I want to express my condolences to Mrs Spence, to the family, the two daughters.

“I grew up on a farm, I understand how something like this could happen. I can picture how it could happen.

“It's a deep tragedy, it's a great loss and I think that everybody on this island of Ireland will express their sympathy with the Spence family.”

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