The family of Rangers bus crash victim Ryan Baird are expecting up to 1000 people for his funeral in his home village of Magheramorne this weekend.
Ryan, who had moved to Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway and was engaged to be married next August, lost his life on Saturday October 1 after a coach transporting Rangers fans to the Ibrox Stadium overturned in East Ayrshire.
Police in Scotland are investigating the incident.
Ryan’s father Alex Baird says that his son’s funeral, which will be held on Saturday October 15 at 12pm in Magheramorne Presbyterian Church, will be a celebration of his son’s life.
“It will be an Orange funeral with regalia to be worn and we are expecting hundreds of people to attend, including people coming over from Scotland,” he revealed.
“We could have as many as a thousand people in attendance.
“Ryan’s body will be released tomorrow (Tuesday) and he will be coming home on Thursday, then we will have a private family service of thanksgiving before the funeral.
“We are trying to keep positive, the investigation into the incident could take up to a year to complete.”
Ryan was well known in Larne, where he was a member of several local clubs and bands.
Last Wednesday night, Constable Norman Anderson Memorial played music in Ryan’s memory outside Larne Rangers Supporters Club, where the gates are adorned in memorial tributes including Ryan’s band uniforms.
Then, on Sunday, Ryan’s family attended a match between Linfield and Queen of the South, where a minute’s silence was held at the start of the match, followed by applause in the 39th minute.
“The support we have had since Ryan’s death has been second to none,” Alex continued.
“Ryan was well known here before he went to live in Scotland, he was a member of the Constable Norman Anderson Memorial Band and Carnlough Flute Band as well as Cairncastle.
“On behalf of myself and my wife Maree, Ryan’s fiancée Sarah Hughes and his two boys Kyle and Dean I would like to thank the community for their support.”
The funeral service will be followed by interment at Ballycarry New Cemetery and refreshments in Ballycarry Presbyterian Church Hall.