Northern Ireland news

Young Co Down man who died in the US 'always had a smile on his face'

surfer: Benjamin Davis
Marie Louise McConville

Tributes have been paid to a young Co Down man who has died in the US.

Benjamin Davis, who was 22 and from the Drumbo area, passed away in hospital in California on Wednesday.

It was suggested he was seriously injured in a road traffic collision in San Diego.

In a statement, Mr Davis' family, his parents, Tim and Scarlet and siblings, Aaron and Eva, said Benjamin "always had a smile on his face".

Posting on Facebook, the Davis family said the Instonians rugby player had gone to the US "chasing a dream and he got to live it for a short but amazing time."

"Everyone that knew him knew how happy he was here. He was working and living where he loved.

"He never saw the dark side to any situation and always had a smile on his face.

"We will miss him so much and are proud of him".

The family said they were "so grateful for all the support" they had received.

"This support helps us keep strong.

"We are trying to bring him home later this week and the funeral details will be finalised then".

It is understood the family are being assisted in bringing Benjamin's remains home to Ireland by the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust.

Instonians Rugby Club said on Facebook: "Ben was a son we all would have been proud to call our own.

"We are there for support in any way we can".

Read more: Young man killed by a falling tree during Storm Ali was also a former pupil of The Royal Belfast Academical Institution 

A `Ben Davis Memorial Paddle Out' was yesterday due to take place at Crystal Pier in San Diego in honour of the 22-year-old.

Described as the "highest honour a surfer and lover of the ocean can receive when passing on", a post about the event on Facebook said it was a chance for stories to be shared and prayers to be said.

"We will all miss Ben very much and a piece of him will live on in each of us for as long as we let it.

"Everyone is very strongly encouraged to enter the ocean and join hands in the circle on anything buoyant for the ceremony.

"Please bring flowers be brought into the water. We will send them into the middle of the circle once everyone has shared about Ben".

Read more: Young man killed by a falling tree during Storm Ali was also a former pupil of The Royal Belfast Academical Institution 

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