Ulster pay tribute to Nevin Spence

 

Ulster have paid tribute to “a much-loved and talented member of the squad” after centre Nevin Spence's death in a farming accident.

The 22-year-old died along with his father and brother yesterday after falling into a slurry tank on their family farm in Hillsborough, County Down.

His sister Emma, an artist whose work includes portraits of Ulster players, is still being treated for the effects of fume inhalation.

Reports suggest Nevin and Emma were attempting to rescue their brother and father, who had already fallen into the tank.

A statement released by the club read: "It was with profound sadness that Ulster Rugby learned of the tragic death of Nevin Spence, a much-loved and talented member of the Ulster squad.

"Ulster Rugby also wishes to express its deep sorrow at the death of Nevin's father Noel and brother Graham."

Chief executive Shane Logan added: "I am deeply saddened by this tragic news.

"Nevin was a wonderful player but also a wonderful person. He was well liked by everyone who knew him and his loss will be deeply felt by his team-mates and everyone at Ulster Rugby.

"He will be sorely missed and the thoughts of everyone involved in the game are with his family at this time."

Irish Rugby Football Union president Billy Glynn also expressed his condolences.

A statement from Glynn released by the IRFU read: "This is a terrible tragedy that has struck the Spence family and the thoughts of everybody in Irish Rugby are with them at this time.

"Nevin was an outstanding young player which was evident from his progression through the representative ranks and the game has been robbed of a very talented young man.

"On behalf of Irish Rugby, I would like to offer our heartfelt support to the family, friends and team-mates of Nevin during this difficult time."

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said it responded to a 999 call at about 6.15pm following reports that at least three people had fallen into a slurry tank.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service also attended and rescued four people from the slurry pit.

Following the lengthy rescue operation it was confirmed that three men had died and a woman was taken to hospital for treatment for the inhalation of fumes.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: "Three were unconscious and NIAS paramedics commenced resuscitation efforts immediately assisted by other ambulance personnel.

"One of the four showed initial signs of responding to the efforts of the crews and was transported immediately to the nearby Lagan Valley Hospital, where unfortunately he died a short time later.

"Despite the best efforts of all involved the other two men died at the scene.

"A female was treated at the scene and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where she is recovering from the effects of fume inhalation."

Ulster fly-half Ian Humphreys led the tributes on Twitter to his former team-mate, who was a member of the squad that reached the Heineken Cup final last season and was predicted to have a glittering international career ahead of him.

Spence made 42 senior appearances for Ulster and was named Young Player of the Year at last year's Irish Rugby Football Union Players' Association Awards. He played for the UlsterRavens, the club's 'A' team, against Munster A on Friday.

Humphreys wrote: "Devastated to hear the news about Nevin Spence and his brother and dad. Prayers with all his family... RIP Nev, you'll never be forgotten..."

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson wrote: "Deeply saddened to hear of the tragedy in Hillsborough this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with family at this time of devastation."

Tributes also appeared on feeds representing both the British and Irish Lions and the RaboDirect Pro12, the league in which Ulster play.

The Lions post read: "All our thoughts are with the family and friends of Ulster centre Nevin Spence, his father and brother."

The post on the Pro12 account read: "Shocked. We just read about Nevin Spence. RIP. There are no words."

Former Ireland and Munster hooker Jerry Flannery added: "Terrible news on Nevin Spence, his Brother and their Dad. Offering up prayers for their family and friends, unbelievably sad."

Former Wales winger Shane Williams wrote: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Nevin Spence. A tragic loss. A class act on the field also. RIP."

Tributes also came from notable Northern Irish sportsmen Rory McIlroy and Barry McGuigan.

McIlroy, golf's world number one, wrote on his Twitter account: "Just heard the tragic news of Nevin Spence and his family. Makes you cherish every day you have on this Earth."

Former boxer McGuigan wrote: "Tragic news about Nevin Spence and his family, in County Down Northern Ireland. My deepest heart felt sympathy to his family."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home