Belfast Telegraph

Pipe bandsman's tragic death

By Claire McNeilly

A pipe bandsman who helped victims at a fatal crash in Co Antrim tragically died in similar circumstances hours later.

Ronnie Cochrane (56), from Garvagh, died on Friday after a three-car collision on the Edenbane road outside his home town at 11pm. Seven hours earlier, the 56-year-old had helped at the scene of an accident which claimed the life of an elderly man whose car collided with a bus on the A26 between Ballymena and Coleraine.

More than 1,000 mourners were at Mr Cochrane's funeral yesterday which local people described as the "largest funeral in the area they had ever seen" .

The Rev Paul Whittaker, who conducted the service at St Paul's Church of Ireland in Garvagh, said Mr Cochrane had just got engaged at Christmas.

"He was well thought of in the community by everyone," he said.

"The family only live 200 metres from St Paul's Church and I knew Ronnie as he was a regular attender."

In his sermon, Mr Whittaker outlined Ronnie's recreational pursuits, his devotion to the church and to his fianceé of nine months.

"Ronnie and Yvonne were together for 24 years. They saw each other every day. They were recently engaged and were planning their future together."

Mr Cochrane is survived by his parents Jim (82), Margaret (75) and sister Irene (51).

Belfast Telegraph

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