'I can't imagine life without Derek' - Thelma
Former broadcaster Thelma Mansfield paid an emotional final farewell to her 'Live at Three' co-host Derek Davis as he reposed at his home, recalling his "genius" for telling a story.
The beloved TV icon died at the age of 67 last Wednesday following a cerebral haemorrhage. Former government minister Mary Hanafin, retired RTÉ staff and many from the fisheries world were among those who turned out to comfort the Davis family.
Ms Mansfield, who shared the 'Live at Three' sofa with Derek from 1986 to 1997, said she was "in a daze" after seeing him for the last time and said it had been a privilege to have known her "charming, generous and sweet-hearted" friend.
She admitted that she could not imagine life without his phone calls or hearing his "lovely voice" on the radio.
"He was a great man for telling a story - you were always on the edge of your seat asking: 'What happened then?'" she said.
She paid tribute to Mr Davis's widow, Úna as a "tower of strength" and praised the couple's three "beautiful, big sons" - Michael, Colm and Seán. "They're such a wonderful family - they are so strong," she said.
The respected painter had been in Spiddal, Co Galway, when she heard the news of his death and said it had been "surreal".
Ms Mansfield will attend the funeral today along with former 'Live at Three' researchers, predicting that "the world and his mother" will be in attendance, given Mr Davis's gift for friendship.
She spoke of his "genius" for telling a story, revealing that he had always written his own scripts for all the programmes on which he had worked - even for the Eurovision Song Contest.
"He had a great love of the English language," she said.
His funeral takes place today at the Victorian Chapel in Mount Jerome in Dublin.