THE pastor of the family that lost three members in a slurry tragedy last Saturday has paid tribute to the courage and grace of the remaining family members.
Graham and Nevin Spence, aged 30 and 22, and their father Noel, 58, were buried on Wednesday in Ballynahinch amid thousands of well-wishers.
There was widespread admiration for how the remaining family members Essie Spence, daughters Emma and Laura, and daughter-in-law Andrea conducted themselves. Their pastor, the Rev Rodney Spence, asked the News Letter to highlight several points they had much feedback on.
The first was “Emma’s courage in giving her very moving tribute”. Sister to Graham and Nevin and daughter of Noel, she had been hospitalised after trying to rescue the three men but was discharged on Monday.
On Wednesday she gave a moving tribute to her father and brothers which was reported and broadcast across the world.
The second point of feedback they got was “the grace and composure of all the Spence women”.
The last point that had been highlighted was “the overall uplifting spirit of the thanksgiving service as it directed worshippers to Jesus, the ultimate source of this family’s hope and strength”.
He added: “As I mentioned in my tribute of the women I am so impressed by the way they conduct themselves with grace and love.”
The pastor also mentioned that the church had cancelled its coming Sunday service at Ballynahinch Baptist Church to allow members to attend the memorial service for Ulster Rugby player Nevin in Belfast.
On Thursday the Ulster Branch of the IRFU confirmed it would open the gates at Ravenhill at 2pm for the 3pm service. A book of condolence will be open.
No parking will be available inside the stadium and the Ulster Branch asks those attending to be mindful of residents and to avoid parking in the immediate vicinity of the grounds.
Complimentary ‘park and ride’ facilities are located at Pirrie Park on the Ravenhill side of the ground, and along Montgomery Road, on the Mount Merrion side.