'He was a caring and loving son' - mum's heartbreak as Irish Rangers supporter killed in horror bus crash
Published 03/10/2016 | 08:32
The grieving mother of a Rangers supporter who lost his life in a horror coach crash in Scotland at the weekend has described him as a caring and loving son.
Maree Baird, from Ballycarry, Co Antrim, said Ryan, her eldest child, will be missed dearly by the family.
The 39-year-old died in East Ayrshire on Saturday at around 1.15pm as he and fellow Rangers fans travelled to Ibrox.
The passengers - members of Nith Valley Loyal Rangers Supporters' Club - were travelling to watch the team play Partick Thistle in the SPFL Glasgow derby. As the bus approached the Crossroads roundabout near Kilmarnock on the A76 it landed on its side, killing Ryan and injuring 18 others.
The joiner, who was due to marry fiancee Sarah Hughes next August, had 20-year-old twin sons from a previous relationship.
A devastated Maree said: "Ryan will be deeply missed by his father Alex, his two younger brothers and twin sisters.
"Ryan was a very caring and loving son. He always looked out for me and the rest of the family.
"He is going to be missed so much. I am currently in Scotland and the police spoke to me this morning. There will be a post-mortem on Ryan this Thursday.
"I often went over to Scotland to visit Ryan and he made the trip home many times to Ballycarry and to Magheramorne to see his grandparents.
"He cared for his grandparents a great deal and they thought a lot of him as well. It's a terrible thing that has happened. We will miss him so much."
Tributes have poured in from all over the UK and Ireland for Ryan, with best wishes sent to the other 35 passengers and the driver.
Police said four of those injured were kept in overnight, with the condition of two men aged 19 and 61 and a 64-year-old woman described as serious but not life-threatening.
The fourth person, a 67-year-old man, was released from hospital earlier yesterday.
Alistair Dickson (14), of Tarbolton, South Ayrshire, told the Scottish Mail on Sunday he heard the driver say "Oh no, the brakes", shortly before the crash.
He told the newspaper: "I feel really lucky to be alive."
Another passenger said the coach "swerved" at the roundabout and the bus landed on its side on a grass verge.
Hundreds of tributes have been paid on social media, including one from Ryan's cousin Louise Evanne Baird.
She wrote: "RIP to my incredible cousin Ryan, who sadly passed away in the Rangers bus crash. You were an amazing cousin and will be sadly missed."
Ryan's fiancee shared a poem dedicated to him with his picture and the supporters' club emblem.
Nith Valley Loyal RSC said: "The club would like to thank everyone for their good wishes and concern at this sad time."
A statement from Larne Rangers Supporters' Club said: "The committee and members of Larne RSC would like to express our sympathies to the family of Ryan Baird who sadly passed away on his way to watch his beloved Rangers. Let's raise a glass to absent friends."
Ryan was a former member of Cairncastle Flute Band. It posted: "Cairncastle Flute Band would like to offer the Baird family our sincere condolences for their sudden loss."
Rangers Football Club said in a statement: "Our profound condolences go to the gentleman who has died and our thoughts are with his family. We are also thinking of those who have been injured and taken to hospital."
Celtic Football Club said: "In relation to news of the accident involving Rangers supporters on their way to the match, everyone at Celtic sends our sincere condolences following the death of a supporter."
East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said: "Obviously it's early days and we're still waiting all the information, but it's absolutely tragic that a person has lost their life in this way."