In The News

Rugby centre to be named after tragic young star

Rugby centre to be named after tragic young star

ULSTER rugby officials have announced that a new education and heritage centre is to be named in honour of the team’s former young star Nevin Spence, who died in a farm accident in 2012.

Mr. Spence, who was 22, died along with his father Noel and brother Graham in the accident which happened at the slurry tank on the family farm near Hillsborough last September.

Now officials at the IRFU’s Ulster Branch have said the centre, which is part of the £14.7m redevelopment of Ulster’s home ground at Ravenhill in Belfast, will be named The Nevin Spence Centre.

In a statement, the Ulster Branch said the centre will promote ‘the qualities that Nevin Spence embodied — namely a healthy lifestyle and sporting excellence’.

The centre will be in the new Memorial End Stand and will contain interactive and audio-visual content aimed at helping visitors explore the history of rugby in Ulster as well as outlining what are seen as the benefits the game has for supporters, players and society in general.

John Robinson, President of the IRFU Ulster Branch, said it was entirely fitting that the new centre should be named after Nevin. He added: “This facility will have a special emphasis on visits by young people and will be a testimony to the type of life that Nevin chose to lead and was passionate that others should enjoy”. 

The decision has also been welcomed by Iain Campbell, chairman of the Ulster Rugby Supporters’ Club, who said: “I am honoured to speak for the thousands of fans who watched with increasing admiration as Nevin progressed through the ranks of our Rugby Academy to make a massive impact upon the Ulster Rugby squad. We all have very fond memories of great days, great ties, great matches and great victories, with Nevin in the thick of it all.”

He added: “For him to have been so tragically snatched from us in his prime is a sadness that will always remain with us and the dedication of the Nevin Spence Centre to his memory is indeed a great tribute and a mark of the very high regard in which he was held and of all that he had come to mean to the Ulster fans.”

The Nevin Spence Centre is expected to open in September 2014.

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