Tributes are paid to ‘kind-hearted’ biker


A minister has told mourners at the funeral of the motorcyclist killed in a crash on the Rathfriland Road, Newry, that there is hope even in the darkest and most difficult of tragedies.

The service for 46-year-old Noel Campbell was led by the Rev David Murphy at Ryans Presbyterian Church on Thursday June 18, followed by burial in Hilltown Presbyterian Churchyard.

He was from the Rathfriland area and died after his motorcycle was in collision with a tractor, near Ashtree Cottages in Newry at about 4.30pm last Monday.

He was the dearly loved son of Susan and the late William, and dearest twin brother of Rodney and of Cora.

Paying tribute to Noel, Rev Murphy said: “He was a quiet, civil and kind-hearted soul like the rest of his family.”

Noel was born and brought up in Hilltown.

Thirty years ago the family moved to live in the old Ryans manse up the lane from Ryans Presbyterian Church where Noel attended and served on the church committee. Noel was also on the sexton’s rota and grass-cutting rota.

He worked in the creamery in Banbridge and was a loyal member of Finnard Orange lodge and Royal Dysart institution.

He was a man who loved playing with his nephews William and Andrew

Rev Murphy told of how Noel enjoyed motorbiking.

“He loved riding his motorbike and the freedom to travel it provided,” he said.

“In fact he called on his motorbike at the manse a few weeks ago to get me to drive him to the garage in Rathfriland to fill a can of petrol.”

Throughout his life Noel endured ill-health, but held tight to a Gideon’s Bible the Rev Murphy had given him to read during one occasion in hospital.

Rev Murphy said: “Our love and our prayers go out to Noel’s family - to his mother Susan, sister Cora, twin brother Rodney to whom he was very close and to his nephews William and Andrew at this sad and difficult time and for the future.

“Noel’s death was a tragedy,” he said. “It was sad and sudden and unexpected- hard even now for us to take in.

“But the Bible teaches us that through God and Jesus there is hope even in the darkest and most difficult of tragedies.

“Every tragedy is mixed with God’s mercy. No matter how dark and difficult it is or may seem to be, even then the light of God’s goodness and mercy is able to and does shine through it.”

Flowers in lieu of donations, if desired, can be sent to J G Bullock Funeral Directors, 71 Newry Street, Rathfriland for Ryans Church Building Fund.