Fans mourn loss of Darren

Tributes left in Nice.
Tributes left in Nice.

Tributes have continued to pour in for Ballymena man Darren Rodgers who died last weekend in Nice.

Darren had been in France following Northern Ireland at the European Championships when the accident occurred.

A service for the 24-year-old from Meadowvale, is provisionally scheduled to take place at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland on Friday.

James Henry Funeral Services posted on their website that Darren’s funeral has at this stage been planned for Friday with a time yet to be given.

It is believed that Darren’s remains will be flown back to Ballymena on Wednesday or Thursday.

A week of celebration for Northern Ireland was tinged with sadness as the Green and White army mourned the loss of one of their own.

Darren’s name was sung by thousands of fans during the win against Ukraine on Thursday, while the players wore black arm bands.

The news of his passing has touched the hearts of the country and beyond, with Republic of Ireland fans not only offering sympathy but they paid tribute singing ‘stand up for the Ulstermen’ during their game with Sweden.

Poignantly, a shirt of Braid United - the Saturday Morning League club that Darren played for - emblazoned with his nickname ‘Dar Dar’ was draped at the side of the pitch in the stadium in Lyon.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, officially opened a Book of Condolence in Ballymena on the day of the Ukraine match.

Fans in France who have been touched by the loss have set up a fundraising group for Darren’s family and also the family of Archie Rainey- who tragically died during the Ukraine game in the stadium.

Heartbroken Northern Ireland supporter George King from Belfast, decided to start raising funds for the two families and has already raised over 2,000 euro since Thursday.

The 39-year-old started his collection in Lyon and he is planning to continue the fundraising in Paris over the weekend ahead of the team’s final and crucial group C game with Germany on Tuesday evening.