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Newborn twins ensure names of tragic Spence men will live on

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The twins

The twins

Emma Spence

Emma Spence

Nevin Spence

Nevin Spence

The twins

The sister of the late Ulster Rugby star Nevin Spence, who died along with his brother Graham and father Noel in a farm accident, has announced the birth of twin boys.

Emma Spence broke the news on social media yesterday, sharing a charming photo of the infants, who have been named Noel Graham Spence Rice and Nevin Jackie Abel Rice.

"On the same month Nevin would have turned 30, Peter and I have been blessed with the birth of 2 baby boys," Emma posted.

"We found out 7 years to the day we buried the Spence men that we were expecting twins.

"We will make sure the boys grow up to know all about the special men they are named after," artist Emma wrote.

Her brother Nevin, who was just 22, was a talented centre with the Ulster team.

But on September 15, 2012, he died in the worst farming accident in over 20 years in Northern Ireland.

His father Noel (58) and his brother Graham (30) also died in the tragedy as they attempted to rescue a beloved dog from a slurry tank at their farm in Hillsborough.

They were all buried in Inch cemetery, following a joint funeral which was held at Ballynahinch Baptist Church.

More than 2,000 people attended the funeral, and members of the Ulster Rugby team carried Nevin's coffin.

Friends and well-wishers including BBC sports presenter Stephen Watson and UTV's Pamela Ballantine tweeted their congratulations to Emma. In a 2018 interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Emma paid tribute to her brothers and father, and added: "I have no son, but if I did I would want them to be like Nevin, and have his values."

Now, she has two.

Belfast Telegraph