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Jack Kyle: Sporting stars and politicians turn out to remember Irish rugby legend at thanksgiving service

In Pictures: Thanksgiving service for Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle Close

A thanksgiving service at Belfast's Fisherwick Presbyterian Church for the late Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with former Ireland player Willie John McBride outside the church. Pic Jonathan Porter

A thanksgiving service at Belfast's Fisherwick Presbyterian Church for the late Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with former Ireland player Willie John McBride outside the church. Pic Jonathan Porter

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. 

Ulster and Ireland player Tommy Bowe arrives at the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Ulster and Ireland player Tommy Bowe arrives at the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  02/12/2014  Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle.
Tommy Bowe at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness.
The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/12/2014 Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle. Tommy Bowe at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness. The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions. The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  02/12/2014  Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle.
Martin McGuinness  at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness.
The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/12/2014 Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle. Martin McGuinness at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness. The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions. The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  02/12/2014  Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle.
The service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness.
The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/12/2014 Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle. The service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness. The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions. The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  02/12/2014  Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle.
Andrew Trimble pictured at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness.
The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/12/2014 Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle. Andrew Trimble pictured at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness. The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions. The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  02/12/2014  Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle.
Rory Best at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness.
The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/12/2014 Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle. Rory Best at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness. The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions. The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  02/12/2014  Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle.
Trevor Ringland  at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness.
The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/12/2014 Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle. Trevor Ringland at the service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness. The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions. The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST  02/12/2014  Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle.
The service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness.
The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.
The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 02/12/2014 Service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle. The service of thanksgiving for Irish Rugby legend Jack Kyle who passed away late last week after a short illness. The Belfast man - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions. The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down.  Left to right.  Former Ireland players Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Left to right. Former Ireland players Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. 

Dame Mary peters outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Dame Mary peters outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. 

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with former Ireland palyer Willie John McBride outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with former Ireland palyer Willie John McBride outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down.  Left to right.  Former Ireland players Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Left to right. Former Ireland players Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. 

Ulster and Ireland player Andrew Trimble outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Ulster and Ireland player Andrew Trimble outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. 

Ulster and Ireland player Andrew Trimble outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Ulster and Ireland player Andrew Trimble outside the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. 

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness arrives at the church.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye 

Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle.  The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88.  A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship.

Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down.  Left to right.  Former Ireland players Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 2nd December 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter / Press Eye Thanksgiving seervice at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast for .rugby legend Jack Kyle. The Belfast man, hailed as one of the greatest players to ever represent Ulster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions, passed away on Friday aged 88. A qualified doctor, he made his debut for Ireland during World War II winning the triple-crown in the 1948 Five Nations Championship. Following his retirement Dr Kyle was involved with humanitarian work as a surgeon in Zambia before returning to settle in Co Down. Left to right. Former Ireland players Willie John McBride and Mike Gibson.

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A thanksgiving service at Belfast's Fisherwick Presbyterian Church for the late Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with former Ireland player Willie John McBride outside the church. Pic Jonathan Porter

A thanksgiving service has taken place for Irish rugby legend Jack Kyle who died last week aged 88.

Sporting stars and politicians were among those who attended the service at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in Belfast on Tuesday afternoon.

The service heard from his friend Colin Morris - who told those gathered that Jack Kyle not only possessed genius, but goodness.

Among those in attendance included Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, as well as sporting stars such as Mary Peters and Ulster rugby players.

Belfast man Jack Kyle - regarded as one of Ireland's best ever rugby players - was a talented fly-half who won 46 caps for Ireland and six for the British and Irish Lions.

The former Ulster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions fly-half passed away on Thursday night.

In 2002 Kyle was voted Ireland's greatest-ever player, underlining his standing alongside the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Willie John McBride as Ireland's most-celebrated rugby stars.

Kyle spent more than 30 years working as a consultant surgeon in Chingola, Zambia, at the end of his playing career.

His friend, Colin Morris today said Kyle helped create a nation "right from the root by 1001 acts of service and of kindness".

"Zambia had Jack with them for over 30 years. There he was in a small town in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from the sports commentators, television cameras and the adulation of the crowd.

"You realised that it wasn't the rush of adrenalin at great sporting occasions that drove him. What really drove him was the agonising sense of the need to be humanely useful to those in need.

"He had genius but he had something rarer than that, he had goodness. His solemnity was counterbalanced by that mischievous Irish sense of humour of his."

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