Tribute to tragic pair in school assembly

Matt Campbell and Benjamin Davis
Matt Campbell and Benjamin Davis

Tributes were paid in the morning assembly of RBAI in Belfast yesterday to two former pupils who lost their lives in a 24 hours period.

Benjamin Davis died in America on Tuesday in what is understood to have been a tragic accident, while Matthew Campbell died on Wednesday when he was struck by a falling tree in Slieve Gullion Park during Storm Ali.

A single school year separated the boys at the Belfast school, both of them being in their early twenties.

RBAI principal Janet Williamson paid tribute to both ex-pupils during morning assembly in the school on Friday.

She told the News Letter on Thursday: “We have the flag flying at half mast. It’s normally something that is only reserved for very prominent Instonians, but we’ve done it as a mark of respect to these two young men, who were model students. “I’ve been a principal for 18 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

Matt’s family has asked, in a public notice, that “bright clothing is worn” to his funeral on Monday.

His family described him as the “devoted son of Mark and Pamela, dearly loved fiance of Robyn, cherished brother of Ashley and fiance Kyle, uncle of Baby Zara, grandson of Jack and Beryl, Fred and Isa”.

The notice added that “Everyone is welcome to call” at his parents’ home at 15 Glencraig Road, Glengormley.

A Service of Celebration for his life will be held in Fleming & Cuthbert Funeral Home, 141 Mill Road, Ballyclare, BT39 9DZ on Monday 24 September at 10.30am followed by interment in Ballyclare Cemetery. There are no details yet on Ben’s funeral.