William Dunlop's funeral hears of 'gracious and thoughtful' road racing hero
The life of William Dunlop has been celebrated at his funeral in Ballymoney.
A Service of Thanksgiving was held at Garryduff Presbyterian Church for the life of William who was tragically killed on Saturday while competing in the Skerries 100 in Dublin.
The funeral services of William's father Robert, killed at the North West 200 in 2008, and his uncle Joey, who died while racing in Estonia eight years earlier, took place in the same church.
Reverend John Kirkpatrick, who is one of the chaplains to the Motorcycle Union of Ireland, led the service and paid tribute to both the man and his career.
He said: "In preparing for today I have read and researched much about William’s life and career... As I listened I’ve heard about his thoughtfulness as a child, his strong bond with his brothers, his kindness to his mum and his deep devotion to his dad.
"I have witnessed the moving love between William and Janine and his delight as a father to Ella."
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Rev Kirkpatrick said since the start of his career at 17, William had been "an example of a great sportsman", pointing to his record of 108 national wins and 11 international wins.
He said: "We have watched his smooth style on the track and his gracious and thoughtful manner off it. As Michael said in his book 'Nothing made his dad more proud than giving William a bike that he then goes out and wins on'... 'Class will always tell and Dad and William have it in spades'.
"Ten years ago here in this same Church at Robert’s funeral I said 'not many people finish what they start, not all persevere in adversity or push themselves to their potential- this made Robert stand out from the crowd'.
"William watched and learned from Robert and his life developed those same qualities and although his life has been shorter than many and certainly shorter than we hoped, the one he chose to live was not dull but full."
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Rev Kirkpatrick pondered what William would say to those present.
He continued: "To his fans and supporters - You were kind to me and stayed with me over the years, you waved your programmes, and you didn’t walk away. Across the small country roads and the sweeping corners of international races over the world I saw you.
"To his family - you are the big part of the person I became. You accepted me, listened to me, gave me space to be me, loved me, laughed with me.
"To His mother - You brought me into the world and cared for me, nurtured my life, watched me grow, set me an example, put kindness in me...
"To his brothers - you were also my friends, you were there for me, you have not let me down, you have the stories few people know. Remember our happy times together.
"To Janine and Ella- You were my true chequered flag, you, the home of my heart. When I held you Ella for the first time, it was the beginning of new love. You made being a father the best of all podiums. When anyone sees you they will see me."
A private committal service will take place in the graveyard adjacent to the church.