Ravenhill memorial for Nevin Spence

Published Sunday, 23 September 2012
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A memorial service has been held at Ravenhill rugby grounds for the late Ulster rugby player Nevin Spence.

Ravenhill memorial for Nevin Spence
Memorial service held at Ravenhill for Ulster Rugby's Nevin Spence (© Presseye)

The religious service at the home of Ulster rugby was led by Reverend Andrew Thompson, who is Ulster Rugby Chaplain and Minister at Elmwood Presbyterian Church in Lisburn.

The service was open to everyone to celebrate the life and sporting career of one of Ulster's most talented and committed players, Ulster Rugby's website stated.

A Capella Choir of 50 young people from Wallace High School sang at the start of the service.

Ulster and Ireland hooker Rory Best led a tribute to Nevin, in which he portrayed a fun loving, good-humoured man who was well grounded despite his sporting prowess.

The entire Spence family all shared Nevin's traits of humility, bravery and determination. These traits set him apart in our squad, and whilst we will miss everything about him, the effect that he and his family have had on us in that short period of time will live with us always.

Ulster hooker Rory Best

"Nevin Spence epitomised all that is good in rugby," he added.

"Nevin was a team player, the sort of player that every team needs, but few are lucky enough to truly find. That was obvious everytime he ran out at Ravenhill, because Nevin loved rugby, he loved representing his province, the fans, his neighbours, his church and especially his family."

His tribute speech received a standing ovation and applause from the crowd in attendance.

Readings were from Ulster rugby Captain Johann Muller and scrum-half Paul Marshall.

Nevin, 22, died in an accident along with his brother Graham and father Noel at their family farm in Hillsborough.

The Spence family were in attendance at the service as well as thousands of others including supports and Ulster team members.

Supporters were invited to sign a book of condolence at Ravenill until 6pm on Sunday.

Ulster Rugby thanked those who have left tributes in memory of the player at Ravenhill, which will be given to the Spence family following the service.

On the website, it also stated that any suggestions for a possible permanent tribute to Nevin, Graham and Noel will be decided in consultation with the family.

On Saturday the rugby community as well as other sports teams paid their respects to the late player by joining in a minute's silence.

Before Friday's Pro12 game between Welsh teams Scarlets and Ospreys, a chorus of 'Stand Up for the Ulster Men' was chanted by supporters following the minute's silence.

© UTV News
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