Dunlop family has had an ‘intense’ time, says cleric who laid William to rest
The minister who officiated at the funeral of road racer William Dunlop has said it is now time to give his grieving family space and privacy to mourn their loss.
Thousands of mourners paid their respects at Garryduff Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, where the Rev John Kirkpatrick led the service.
The racer died following a crash last Saturday during practice for the Skerries 100 Road Race.
Speaking last night, the Rev Kirkpatrick, one of the chaplains to the Motorcycle Union of Ireland, said: "They've had a really intense, tough time, and they need time to process what has happened.
"The normal pattern when these things happen is that there is shock and disbelief, and over time you slowly come to terms with it.
"It's a process, a process of acceptance.
"It's always long."
The 32-year-old was killed instantly while riding his Temple Golf Club Yamaha during practice for the Skerries 100 in Co Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
The crash happened at the Sam's Tunnel section of the course.
The clergyman - who also officiated at the funerals of William's father Robert and his uncle Joey - said his thoughts were very much with William's partner Janine as the biker's family began the long and difficult process of adjustment and acceptance. "Everybody's journey is different, especially for someone who has not been there before," he said.
"It's a massive thing for William's young partner Janine to have to start to process.
"Everybody has a different way of coping with it.
"It doesn't matter whether someone has been racing for years and years, nobody is really prepared for that situation.
"Even though you have it in the back of your mind as a possibility, when it happens it's always going to be a massive shock.
"It doesn't really matter whether people are famous or not famous. At the end of the day, when you close that door, we all know it's a hard, hard place."
A book of condolence, one of several around the province, has been opened in Ballymoney Town Hall by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
Last night a crowdfunding page set up to raise money for the bereaved Dunlop family had almost reached its target of £25,000.
Around 900 people had contributed to the fundraising effort to help William's partner Janine, his daughter Ella, and his unborn child.
The fundraising page was set up in conjunction with Crossan Motorcycles/Thevisorshop on behalf of the Dunlop Family.
All monies raised will be donated to William's partner and children, and full approval and support has been given by the Dunlop family.
"William was a true gentleman and one of our most liked racers, a great ambassador for the sport of road racing, always having time for his fans and supporters," fundraiser Anne Marie Magee says on the Justgiving page.
"Please help support the family that he has left behind."
The total pledged stood at more than £24,000 last night.