Bandsman and 'passionate' charity fundraiser Darren Williams is buried
A flute band has paid a moving tribute to a Co Down bass drummer who was laid to rest yesterday following his sudden death.
Darren Williams, who was from Ballywalter and known by his nickname 'Framezy', is the third member of The Shankill Protestant Boys to lose his life in recent weeks.
He passed away last Saturday leaving behind two children, Charlie and Jamie.
"These two months have been an extremely difficult time for everyone associated with the band," a post on the band's social media account said.
Members who previously came together to participate in emotional tributes to Alan Adlam and Sandy Brown united once again on Wednesday night to play outside Darren's mother's house, where their bandmate lay in repose.
"We have now done three memorial parades and shown respect, dignity and pride in remembrance," the Facebook post said.
"We would like to thank the many bands who travelled from all over the country and others who have walked in front of the band and laid wreaths on these three parades.
"Also, we would like to thank the families of Alan, Sandy and Framezy for allowing us time in carrying out our act of remembrance and inviting us into your homes to pay our respects."
Representatives from at least 27 bands took part in the gesture, which "meant the world" to Darren's grieving mum Michelle, sister Amanda and partner Charlotte.
Many of those who participated in the act of remembrance for "a gentleman who has touched the hearts of the whole band community and beyond" returned to Ballywalter yesterday.
Band members carried a floral tribute bearing the initials SPB as they led mourners to Whitechurch Cemetery, where their friend was laid to rest.
Darren was hailed as "a true bandsman and gentleman who done a lot for people".
He also helped raise a substantial sum of money for a brain tumour charity after losing his dad Alan to cancer a number of years ago.
In 2016 he founded what became known as the Brainwaves Protestant Boys, which brought bands together for special fundraising parades.
"Many of you know he raised thousands of pounds for the charity Brainwaves which was very close to his heart and in doing so he brought hundreds of bandsmen and women together for the mass band The Brainwaves Protestant Boys," the band wrote online.
"All our thoughts and prayers are with Framezy's family at this very sad time.
"Heaven needed the best bass drummer, and it got him."
Chairwoman of Brainwaves Kate Ferguson said Darren's passing has devastated staff and users of the charity.
"To those who did not know him he was an unsung hero in our community who passionately supported the brain tumour community," she said.
"With an unprecedented energy he galvanised his band members both here and in the UK to help with fundraising for research and promote awareness of this life-limiting condition.
"It is with profound sadness that we extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family.
"Their devastating loss is also felt deeply by our charity members."