Belfast Telegraph

Robert Flowerday shone like a star in the universe, mourners told

By Claire Williamson

Mourners at the service of thanksgiving held for murdered retired teacher Robert Flowerday have heard he "shone like a star in the universe".

Mr Flowerday was found dead at his home in Mill Road, Crumlin on Sunday January 28.

The 64-year-old was a retired school teacher who taught maths at Antrim Grammar School and had since been tutoring.

Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil in Co Antrim to honour Mr Flowerday last week.

The service of thanksgiving for his life was held at Crumlin Presbyterian Church on Monday followed by burial at Crumlin New Cemetery.

Reverend Leslie Addis of Woodlands Presbyterian Church, who first met Mr Flowerday 45 years ago, led the service.

He spoke of the example that Mr Flowerday set in his life and said he was a "child of God".

"For as long as I have known him, Robert Flowerday has shone like a star in the universe," he said.

"Back in the day he was affectionately known as The Saint."

Reverend Addis said Mr Flowerday's life was marked by a number of attributes including "fullness in stark contrast to the emptiness that prevails today".

PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/02/2018
Family and Friends attend the funeral of Robert Flowerday at Crumlin Presbyterian Church on Monday.
Robert Flowerday (aged 64) , was found dead at his home on Mill Road in Crumlin , Co Antrim.
Michael Owens aged 33 has been Charged with the Murder.
Pic Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/02/2018 Family and Friends attend the funeral of Robert Flowerday at Crumlin Presbyterian Church on Monday. Robert Flowerday (aged 64) , was found dead at his home on Mill Road in Crumlin , Co Antrim. Michael Owens aged 33 has been Charged with the Murder. Pic Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st February 2018 Funeral service held for 64-year-old Robert Flowerday in Crumlin, Co. Antrim. The retired teacher was found in his Crumlin home last week after being murdered during a burglary. Mr Flowerday's coffin is carried by family and friends after the funeral service in Crumlin Presbyterian Church. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st February 2018 Funeral service held for 64-year-old Robert Flowerday in Crumlin, Co. Antrim. The retired teacher was found in his Crumlin home last week after being murdered during a burglary. Mr Flowerday's coffin is carried by family and friends after the funeral service in Crumlin Presbyterian Church. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st February 2018 Funeral service held for 64-year-old Robert Flowerday in Crumlin, Co. Antrim. The retired teacher was found in his Crumlin home last week after being murdered during a burglary. Mr Flowerday's coffin is carried by family and friends after the funeral service in Crumlin Presbyterian Church. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/02/2018 Family and Friends attend the funeral of Robert Flowerday at Crumlin Presbyterian Church on Monday. Robert Flowerday (aged 64) , was found dead at his home on Mill Road in Crumlin , Co Antrim. Michael Owens aged 33 has been Charged with the Murder. Pic Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/02/2018 Family and Friends attend the funeral of Robert Flowerday at Crumlin Presbyterian Church on Monday. Robert Flowerday (aged 64) , was found dead at his home on Mill Road in Crumlin , Co Antrim. Michael Owens aged 33 has been Charged with the Murder. Pic Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/02/2018 Family and Friends attend the funeral of Robert Flowerday at Crumlin Presbyterian Church on Monday. Robert Flowerday (aged 64) , was found dead at his home on Mill Road in Crumlin , Co Antrim. Michael Owens aged 33 has been Charged with the Murder. Pic Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 05/02/2018 Family and Friends attend the funeral of Robert Flowerday at Crumlin Presbyterian Church on Monday. Robert Flowerday (aged 64) , was found dead at his home on Mill Road in Crumlin , Co Antrim. Michael Owens aged 33 has been Charged with the Murder. Pic Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st February 2018 Funeral service held for 64-year-old Robert Flowerday in Crumlin, Co. Antrim. The retired teacher was found in his Crumlin home last week after being murdered during a burglary. Mr Flowerday's coffin is carried by family and friends after the funeral service in Crumlin Presbyterian Church. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 1st February 2018 Funeral service held for 64-year-old Robert Flowerday in Crumlin, Co. Antrim. The retired teacher was found in his Crumlin home last week after being murdered during a burglary. Mr Flowerday's coffin passes by his home after the funeral service in Crumlin Presbyterian Church. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

He continued: "Quietness in the midst of chaos, mayhem, turmoil, hustle and bustle.  Selflessness in the midst of selfishness. Conviction in a world of chameleons. Trust in a generation of sceptics. Steadfastness in the midst of uncertainty. Humility rather than arrogance. Clarity in a day of confusion. Generosity in a culture where dog eats dog. Purity in a generation given to immorality. Gentleness rather than aggression. Discipline in a generation in which anything goes. Wisdom in a world of fools. A helper in a world of haters."

The Reverend Addis recalled his last conversation with Robert 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. Thank you for everything you've done for me.' He was his usual bashful self.

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

"If I had I may have asked him, what he would want said on a occasion like this. I think, as only a Mathematician could, he'd maybe have said, 'remind them not that V - E + F = 2; or that a^ + b^ = c^ (a squared etc) or that A = nr^, (pie x r squared) never mind calculus or Pythagoras, remind them that Jesus + Nothing = Everything"

Andrew Masters, lead pastor of Lagan Valley Vineyard Church, where Mr Flowerday attended, told mourners how he had been reflecting on how fortunate he was to know an "incredible man like Robert".

He said: "Just about every news bulletin last week spoke of Robert’s gentleness, his kindness and his love."

Those gathered heard how Robert was both a "man of prayer and a man of action".

Mr Masters said that Robert stood out because he sought to "bring people together"

He said: "Robert was quirky, he was different and he was very much his own man. He wasn’t a huge fan of large groups, he much preferred an intimate conversation with one two people.

"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.

"He stood out because he sought not to see difference but to bring people together. He stood out because he was a man of deep humility, gentleness and steely strength.

"He stood out because he embodied so much of what so many of us long for our lives to become but don’t quite know how to get there."

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