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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Ulster service to celebrate life of 'talented and committed' Nevin Spence

A special memorial service for the 22-year-old will be held at Ulster’s Ravenhill grounds on Sunday afternoon.

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Jonathan Porter

IRELAND’S RUGBY FAMILY will pay its final respects to talented Ulster centre Nevin Spence in a special memorial service at Ravenhill on Sunday.

Family, friends and thousands of sympathisers gathered on Wednesday for the funerals of Spence, his father Noel and his brother Graham. The three men died in a tragic accident on their family farm in Hillsborough, County Down, last Saturday.

One of Ulster and Ireland’s most promising young stars, 22-year-old Spence had been tipped by many to go on to have a long and successful international career.

Sunday’s ceremony, which begins at 3pm and is open to all, “aims to celebrate the life and sporting career of one of Ulster’s most talented and committed players,” the province said.

Squad chaplain Reverend Andrew Thompson will lead the service which will also involve some of Spence’s team-mates.

Ulster’s scheduled RaboDirect Pro12 match against Italian club Zebre on Friday was postponed. A minute’s silence will be observed at all games in the competition this weekend, while online supporter groups have started a campaign to have “Stand Up for the Ulster Men” sung at every ground in tribute.

Fans have left flowers, shirts, flags and cards at Ravenhill in Spence’s memory while a book of condolence was also opened at IRFU headquarters on Lansdowne Road. The tributes and books of condolence will be presented to the family following Sunday’s service.

Ulster also thanked those who have suggested ideas for a possible permanent memorial to the three men. “Any decision on a lasting memorial will be made in full consultation with the Spence family,” the province said.

Ulster captain Johann Muller pays tribute to Nevin Spence

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Niall Kelly

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