Belfast Telegraph

Murdered teacher Robert Flowerday led blameless and innocent life, mourners told

By Adrian Rutherford

The murder of a "gentle and kind" retired teacher has left a community shocked and devastated, mourners heard yesterday.

Robert Flowerday was found dead at his home at Crumlin in Co Antrim on January 28.

The 64-year-old taught maths at Antrim Grammar and more recently had worked as a tutor.

A service of thanksgiving was held in Crumlin Presbyterian Church yesterday.

Andrew Master, the lead pastor of Lagan Valley Vineyard Church, described Mr Flowerday (below) as a man who was passionate about doing good.

"The events of the past week have left us shocked and devastated and yet in a very strange way I have been reflecting on how fortunate I am to have known such an incredible man like Robert," he said.

"Just about every news bulletin last week spoke of Robert's gentleness, his kindness and his love."

Mr Flowerday was "very much his own man", the pastor said. "He wasn't a huge fan of large groups, he much preferred an intimate conversation with one or two people," he added.

"But perhaps the thing that made Robert so different was his posture towards others.

"In an age of rampant selfishness and unshackled consumerism Robert stood out.

"In an age of increasing suspicion and fear of people who are not like us Robert stood out.

"He stood out as one prepared to walk a different road, a road that led him towards others."

Mr Master recalled the time Mr Flowerday bought a used car.

"A friend noticed the number plate and informed Robert that the number plate was worth a sum of money," he added.

"Robert proceeded to sell the plates and then took the amount he received to the original seller of the car. That was not an unusual thing for Robert to do."

Mr Master added: "In closing I think it is important to note that Robert did not stand out simply as one passionate about doing good. His commitment to love and care for others flowed directly from his commitment and love for Jesus."

Rev Leslie Addis, also speaking at the service, said Mr Flowerday led a "blameless and innocent" life.

He recalled how a chance meeting with Mr Flowerday nearly half a century ago had led him to God.

"My life in Christ, my journey in ministry and the ongoing work of God in my children and so many more, began humanly speaking, at the bus stop, at Crumlin Mill, when Robert Flowerday invited myself and Damien Moran to attend a youth club in Glenavy over 45 years ago," he said.

"My last conversation with him, the last time I spoke with him was some months ago. I noticed him on his bicycle in Crumlin. I turned the car, went back to where he was and stopped with him. I said something like, 'I'm glad to see you, In many ways I owe my life to you'."

He added: "When I was chatting to him that day, I never envisaged this day."

Mr Flowerday was laid to rest at Crumlin New Cemetery.

A man is in custody charged with his murder.

Belfast Telegraph

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