Benjamin Davis, young NI man who died in USA, was ‘living the dream’

The late Benjamin Davis in a photograph shared via Instonians Rugby Club Facebook page
The late Benjamin Davis in a photograph shared via Instonians Rugby Club Facebook page

Tributes have been paid to a young Northern Ireland man “who always had a smile on his face” after his tragic death in America on Tuesday.

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Benjamin Davis, who was in his early 20s, was a former pupil of RBAI and also a rugby player with Instonians.

After graduating from Queen’s University, he left Northern Ireland to start a new job in America.

It is understood his death was the result of an accident.

His family – parents Tim and Scarlet and brother and sister, Aaron and Eva – shared the news of his passing via Instonians Rugby Club.

They wrote: “Sadly Benjamin has passed away in America. He came over here chasing a dream and he got to live it for a short but amazing time.

“Everyone that knew him knew how happy he was here. He was working and living where he loved.

“He never saw the dark side to any situation and always had a smile on his face.

“We will miss him so much and are proud of him.

“As a family we are so grateful for all the support we have received so far and in the next few days.

“This support helps us keep strong.

“We are trying to bring him home later this week and the funeral details will be finalised then.”

Mr Davis attended Inchmarlo from 1999 to 2006 and RBAI from 2006 to 2013.

The school posted on Facebook: “Our thoughts are with Ben’s family and friends at this time.”

Mr Davis was a keen sportsman and had been at Instonians Rugby Club as a youth player, progressing through to senior level.

The club said: “On behalf of the Instonian family we send our condolences to the Davis family.

“Ben was a son we all would have been proud to call our own. We are there for support in any way we can.”

Brian Barrett, Mr Davis’s coach at Instonians at Under 17, Under 19, and 2nd XV level, said: “He was a great kid. It’s just so sad.

“He was with us at Under 17s and Under 19s. He’d started studying at Queen’s University, where he was doing very well – so when it came to the seconds he would play whenever he was available.

“He comes from a lovely family. His brother Aaron, I’d have coached him as well, and his father Tim came to every match and helped manage.

“He was just a really lovely kid. He always had manners about him.

“He never shied away if you wanted a hand doing something. He was great around the club.

“He was just a true wee gentleman. He really enjoyed his rugby and the camaraderie that came with it.

“Although he’d left for America he would still have been in contact with a lots of the lads from the team.”

Former team mate Matt James posted on Facebook: “Absolutely heartbreaking. Shared many a laugh with Ben. An absolute gentleman to play with. Will truly miss him. Much love to Aaron, Tim and the family.”