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World News

Funeral hears of David Trimble's love of church and 'special Sundays'

by Donna Birrell

The funeral service of the former Northern Ireland first minister David Trimble has been held in County Antrim.

Among the mourners at Harmony Hill presbyterian church in Lisburn, were Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Taoiseach Micheal Martin and the DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill was also at the service for the 77-year-old former Ulster Unionist leader who was one of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement. 

Former moderator of the presbyterian church in Ireland, Very Rev Dr Charles McMullen was among those taking part in the service and he remarked that "when family looked for suitable readings to celebrate their father's life, they did so thoughtfully and sensitively touching on peace and peace-making, as well as the unconditional love of our heavenly Father."

Recognising Lord Trimble's significant contribution to political life in Northern Ireland Dr McMullen recalled that on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 "he highlighted thousands of people who have borne witness in their lives, by carrying out what Wordsworth called 'those little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.'"

Dr McMullen went on to say that "maybe today, we too ought to remember all in public life who, like David, serve the common good. To do all that we can to make space for one another and, using particular Christian terms, to show grace and go the extra mile."

Lord Trimble led the Ulster Unionist Party from 1995 to 2005 and with the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 he helped bring about an end to more than 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the then leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, John Hume. 

During the funeral service Dr McMullen spoke of the importance of the Christian faith to Lord Trimble and his wife Daphne :

"It also crossed my mind as I have listened to family, how special Sundays were. They were faithful in attendance here in Harmony Hill church. In fact, wherever David and Daphne travelled in the world, church was vitally important and they often came back to us with orders of service.

"From my days as an assistant minister here, I remember David's warm handshake, his kindness, his support and encouragement. When family looked for suitable readings to celebrate their father's life, they did so thoughtfully and sensitively touching on peace and peace-making, as well as the unconditional love of our heavenly Father. They turned to the words of the psalmist and were comforted to find the God who protects those who love him and is close to the broken-hearted. Their final passage speaks simply and profoundly of Jesus being the way, the truth and the life - the one who as we believe in Him will lead us home to him. Jesus came that we would have fullness of life."

Rev Fiona Forbes told the funeral service: 

"The array of those who have gathered today to pay their respects bears witness not only to David's impact on the political landscape of which he was so much a part, but also to the imprints he left upon the same, and to the legacy he left all of us.

"Of course, we come to remember an academic, a party leader, a peacemaker, a nobel laureate, the first to serve in the role of first minister in the new Northern Ireland Executive established as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

"But we also come to remember a husband, father, and grandfather, a brother, brother-in-law and uncle, a colleague, a committed member of this church family, and a friend."

Lord Trimble died last month after a short illness and is survived by his wife and four children. 




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