Rangers manager among mourners at Ryan Baird funeral

Ryan Bairds coffin is carried out of Magheramorne Presbyterian church after the funeral service

Ryan Bairds coffin is carried out of Magheramorne Presbyterian church after the funeral service

Mourners gathered to remember the life of Larne native, Ryan Baird, at his funeral service in Magheramorne Presbyterian on Saturday.

The father of two lost his life two weeks ago while on his way to watch his favourite team, Glasgow Rangers.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton was among the hundreds of mourners on Saturday

Rangers manager Mark Warburton was among the hundreds of mourners on Saturday

Rangers manager, Mark Warburton, was among the hundreds of mourners to pay respects to the loving father, son, brother, fiancé and uncle, who was passionate about football.

Ryan, who had moved to Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway and was engaged to be married next August, lost his life on Saturday, October 1 after a coach transporting Rangers fans to the Ibrox stadium overturned in East Ayrshire. Police in Scotland are investigating the incident.

Rev Neil Bingham told mourners how Ryan was always fond of a prank, but that also meant that pranks would be played on him.

Rev Bingham said: “Ryan’s brother John was telling me this story about a prank he had played on Ryan when they were growing up. He loosened the front wheel on Ryan’s bike. Ryan went out for a cycle and while on the bike, he decided to pull a wheelie.

“The front wheel flew off and went bouncing down the road, with Ryan trying to keep control. Next thing Ryan is over the handlebars, before hitting his face on the road and losing two teeth.”

Some of the mourners laughed as Rev Bingham added: “John went on to tell me that the prank had been carried out by himself and Ryan’s other brother, Raymond, though it had mostly been Raymond.”

At a memorial service in Sanquhar on Thursday mourners wore Rangers scarves and formed a guard of honour outside the town’s St Bride’s Church.

Further tributes were paid at the Rangers v Inverness Caledonian Thistle game on Friday when a minute’s silence was held in his memory and fans displayed a RIP Ryan Baird banner.

A total of 37 people, including the driver, were on board the bus when the crash happened at around 1.15pm on October 1 at the Crossroads roundabout near to Bowhouse Prison and 18 people were taken to hospital, three of whom were seriously injured.

Following the crash, both Celtic and Rangers issued statements passing on their condolences to Mr Baird’s family and senior officials at the Ibrox club later met members of the supporters club and players visited crash victims in hospital.

Singer Rod Stewart, a Celtic fan, was among those who donated to a fund set up to help Mr Baird’s family, saying: “At sad times like this we are one big football loving family.”

A Rangers spokesman said on Saturday: “The management and staff have being doing their best to support all of those involved in this accident.

“It’s the least we can do and we are more than happy if it helps in any way at this tragic time.”

Ryan had been a member of the Orange Order, the Royal Black Preceptory, the Apprentice Boys of Derry and several flute bands.

Orange brethren from across the UK, including local UUP representatives Roy Beggs Snr and Roy Beggs Jnr, paid their respects to the popular Larne man.

Ryan’s coffin was carried out of the church to the ‘Match of the Day’ theme, before interment at Ballycarry New Cemetery.