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Memorial service to be held for tragic newlyweds

John and Lynette Rodgers who drowned in South Africa while on honeymoon. Picture by Caroline Smyth Photography, Press Association

A MEMORIAL service is to be held in South Africa today for Co Down newlyweds Lynette and John Rodgers who drowned while on honeymoon in the country last week.

Wreaths will be laid at Plettenberg Bay, close to Cape Town, where the couple died on Friday.

The service, organised by officials from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office, will be held at 11am South Africa time.

The young couple had married in Lynette's hometown of Holywood, Co Down, just six days before the tragedy unfolded on their honeymoon.

The pair drowned hours after checking into their hotel in the idyllic Plettenberg Bay area.

It is understood the couple had gone for a swim, but John's body was discovered in shallow surf on Robberg Beach by a local man at around 6pm.

His wife's body was found around 200 metres away along the same beach.

Doctors performed CPR on the couple but they were pronounced dead at the scene.

John (28), a University of Ulster engineering graduate from Ballygowan, Co Down, worked for Calvert Office Equipment in Belfast, while Lynette (26) was a physiotherapist.

The couple's devastated families hope that their bodies will be returned to the north later this week.

Mr Rodgers' family said earlier this week the couple, who met six years ago, were "destined" for each other.

"Lynette has always been considered a member of the family, with John's sisters calling Lynette one of us," they said.

"They will always be remembered as one couple - destined to be together forever."

Lynette's mother Eva Reilly said she was devastated by the deaths.

"My perfect daughter, loving, kind and so much in love, I will miss her dearly," she said.

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