Mourners gathered in Co Londonderry today to bid farewell to a former soldier who lost his life in a road crash last week.
Edward Montgomery, from Dunboe Gardens in Articlave, died following a two-vehicle collision on the Quilly Road outside Coleraine last Friday morning.
Two other men, including Mr Montgomery’s son Matthew, were taken to hospital with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.
It is understood Mr Montomgery was leaving his son to work when the crash happened.
The 63-year-old’s funeral service was held in Castlerock Presbyterian Church today, followed by interment in Downhill Burial Ground.
Rev Stanley Stewart of Castlerock Presbyterian said the father-of-seven, who once served with the UDR and Royal Irish Regiment, would be sorely missed.
“All of us are still in a state of shock and disbelief; deeply, deeply saddened by Eddie’s untimely passing,” he told mourners.
He added that his son Matthew was unable leave hospital to attend his father’s funeral, but added: Thankfully he is making steady progress in his recovery. We pray that God would heal, protect and restore him. We pray for all affected and caught up in this road traffic accident.”
He also told how Mr Montgomery, a lifelong Coleraine man, worked in a timber yard after leaving school, before joining the Territorial Army.
This led eventually to him signing up to military service for 12 years with the UDR and the RIR.
Rev Stewart added: “Like many others who served in the security forces in the 1980s and 90s it brought significant stresses and strains on family life. Back to civvy-street he worked around the town in a number of stores, before joining the ASDA staff some 10 years ago.
“He always wanted and provided the very best for his wife and family – he gave them the space to be themselves but in recent years took opportunities to give advice and help them make good decisions. Eddie had a very dry sense of humour and was very witty - I am sure in family gatherings there was much banter and crack.
“Eddie enjoyed getting out in the fresh air for walks and cycling; he appreciated the natural beauty of this area.”
Mourners heard that was a “committed” member of the church and took on responsibilities as a member of the congregational committee, visiting homes with church literature and stewarding.
Rev Stewart continued: “Eddie was a true Coleraine man, but his greatest loyalty was to the captain of his salvation, Jesus Christ. He was a man of strong convictions, always ready to share his faith, a true friend who could be relied upon. A humble and open person who readily acknowledged his failings and mistakes but spoke of the lessons learnt and the wonderful mercy and grace of God experienced in God’s forgiveness.”
On behalf of Mr Montgomery’s family, the minister paid tribute to all those who have helped them in recent days, including to the emergency services, the crew of the air ambulance, the PSNI family liaison officer, the doctors and staff of the Royal Victoria Hospital ICU, Murdocks’ Funeral Directors, and the staff at the Coleraine ASDA store.