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Hundreds gather in Ballyclare for funeral of Storm Ali victim Matt Campbell (24)

Family and friends helped to carry the coffin of Matt Campbell at his funeral. Picture by Justin Kernoghan

THE haunting tune of `You'll Never Walk Alone' was played as the coffin of 24-year-old Storm Ali victim Matt Campbell was carried at his funeral yesterday.

Mourners heeded his family's appeal to wear bright colours, among them the football strip of his beloved Liverpool FC and Northern Ireland shirts.

Mr Campbell, who was working as a contractor for NI Water at a pumping station at Slieve Gullion Forest Park in south Armagh during Storm Ali last Wednesday, died after being struck by a falling tree.

A second Lagan Construction employee was injured in the same accident.

His fiancee, Robyn Newberry, had been due to pick up their wedding rings the next day, with the couple having already sent out 'save the date' cards ahead of their big day in August.

It is understood that Miss Newberry placed the ring on his finger, as the song they had chosen for their first dance played in the background at Fleming & Cuthbert Funeral Home in Ballyclare, Co Antrim yesterday, where hundreds of family and friends gathered to say goodbye.

Mr Campbell's father told mourners they "would have been proud to have Robyn as our daughter-in-law along with their mad dog Willow, who Matthew loved".

They heard how she was "the love of his life", who the former Royal Belfast Academical Institution pupil prosposed to eight months after they met aged 18.

"I cannot believe I am standing here today talking about our big son Robert Matthew Campbell. Born on 1st May 1994... My beloved son in whom I am well pleased. My dad said this about me all my life I said the same to Matthew.”

He paid tribute to the son "who never let me down".

"We are all utterly devastated at Matt's death. But we're so proud of him and all he achieved.

"We have been overwhelmed by the appreciation from everyone over these past few days."

Mr Campbell was be buried after the service of thanksgiving in Ballyclare Cemetery.

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