Respectful acknowledgement by the Northern Ireland fans

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Northern Ireland football fans are acknowledged widely for respectful behaviour. This was apparent on Sunday when several hundred of them travelled from Paris in a bus convoy to the Somme in France for solemn acknowledgement of the enormous Ulster sacrifices there in 1916.

The supporters gathered at the Ulster Tower at Thiepval, where prayers were said and a short remembrance service conducted by Stephen Kennedy, assistant minister of Hill Street Presbyterian Church, Lurgan.

Stephen, in France with his family for Euro 2016, caught the mood of the occasion when he said: “There was a huge amount of blood; much of it Ulster blood. Soldiers decided that they would lay down their lives for our freedom. They literally numbered their days to secure our future.

“Meeting here is an honour and a privilege for me. This area would have been unrecognisable in 1916. It’s important to remember the sacrifice. But there was a more significant sacrifice than this. Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we might be rescued. The Bible calls us to think through these things. Jesus calls us all to trust in Him, because only through Him can true fulfilment be found.”