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REX/Barbara Lindberg
UK News

Hundreds pay tribute to Revd Ian Paisley

The founder of the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster and Democratic Unionist Party died last month aged 88.

Among the guests at the invitation-only event in Belfast's Ulster Hall were his former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and current First Minister Peter Robinson.

His wife, Baroness Eileen Paisley, told the audience how her husband, affectionately known as 'the big man', had loved life.

"He was one of the happiest men on earth," she said. "He had an incredible zest for life and was happy in whatever he did whether in the pulpit or the three parliaments in which he served."

She added: "His home was his castle and he was at his happiest and most relaxed there. It is the place he would have chosen from which to enter his heavenly home and God granted his request.

"On the morning of September 12, when surrounded by Rhonda, Cherith, Kyle and me - Sharon and Ian were delayed on their ways to home but were able to say their farewells to him on the telephone - he slipped quietly and peacefully into the presence of the Good Shepherd.

"The peace and presence of the Saviour filled our hearts, permeated through the room leaving us with the feeling that we had walked with him right to the door of heaven and he had just stepped through.

"We knew that immediately when he breathed his last breath on earth his next breath was taken in heaven. Neither Ian nor I or any of our family could ask for anything more."

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