A BOOK OF Condolence will be opened for rugby player Nevin Spence at Ulster’s Ravenhill grounds later this morning.
The club said that both the office and grounds will be open from 9am to 5pm every day this week for those wishing to leave expressions of sympathy.
Fans have already started leaving flowers, notes and other tributes around the grounds.
The rising young star died tragically in a farming accident over the weekend, aged just 22. His father Noel (58) and 30-year-old brother Graham also lost their lives after entering a slurry tank on their farm in Hillsborough, County Down.
Nevin’s sister Emma is currently recuperating from the incident. She was treated for fume inhalation at Royal Victoria Hospital but was discharged last night. Both siblings went to the aid of their brother and father after they got into trouble in the tank.
The men are survived by mother and wife Essie Spence and her daughters Emma and Laura. A statement on behalf of the family has been released by the Reverend Rodney Stout, senior pastor at Ballynahinch Baptist Church:
The families of Noel, Graham and Nevin Spence are trying very hard to come to terms with their tragic loss.
The three men were very close to each other in life, and that love was expressed in their final moments trying to help one another.
Arrangements for a service for the three deceased are being made and details will be available to the press “in due course”.
The rubgy community also wakes up in mourning today as it comes to terms with the loss of one of its most exciting young players. Described as “gifted” by Ulster Rugby, Nevin had an extremely bright future in the game. He made his debut with his club in 2010 and had represented Ulster on 42 occasions.
He was named the IRFU Players’ Association Young Player of the Year in 2011 and started training with Ireland’s Six Nations squad earlier this year.
“Nevin was a wonderful player but also a wonderful person,” said chief executive of Ulster, Shane Logan. “He was well like by everyone who knew him and his loss will be deeply felt by his teammates and everyone at Ulster Rugby.”
Director of Rugby David Humphreys said the club would be a “poorer place without him”.
A minute’s silence in his memory was held at Croke Park yesterday ahead of the All-Ireland Senior Camogie Final.