Tragic couple who died on their honeymoon to be laid to rest together in the church they were married weeks ago
The funerals of two Northern Ireland honeymooners who drowned in South Africa will take place in the church where they married.
John Rodgers, 28, and his wife Lynette, 26, died last month after getting caught in a rip tide at Plettenberg Bay.
The tragedy unfolded just six days after the couple walked down the aisle in Co Down.
Mrs Rodgers (nee Reilly) was an NHS physiotherapist from Holywood who friends described as kind and compassionate.
Mr Rodgers, a popular and enthusiastic engineering graduate from Ballygowan, worked for an office equipment company in Belfast.
He was discovered in shallow surf on Robberg Beach by a local man at around 6pm on Friday October 23, South Africa's National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said.
His wife's body was found about 200 yards away along the same beach, the NSRI said.
Doctors performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the couple but they were pronounced dead at the scene.
Th couple tied the knot in front of family and friends at the First Presbyterian Church in the bride's home-town of Holywood on October 17. Today their funeral will be held there.
Mr Rodgers was a corporal in B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, The Scottish & North Irish Yeomanry.
With a passion for firearms and increasing ability to deliver high-quality instruction, he became the "go-to" person in the squadron for all Skill-At-Arms lessons, both for serving soldiers and recruits.
This was a capacity few others possessed and demonstrated the distinct uniqueness and presence that Cpl Rodgers had, a military tribute said.
Mr Rodgers was promoted to the rank of corporal in December 2014 by the current Squadron Leader, who on presenting the new rank stated that: "Corporal Rodgers exemplifies the type of junior NCO required in today's Light Cavalry. He is experienced, driven and is proactive in all of his work."
In paying tribute to Cpl Rodgers, Lieutenant Colonel James Campbell-Barnard MBE, Commanding Officer, The Scottish & North Irish Yeomanry said the regiment has lost a good friend and an excellent soldier.
"Dedicated, highly respected and loyal, Cpl Rodgers had served with such distinction within B (North Irish Horse) Squadron over the past 10 years, one is now left to ponder what he would have undoubtedly achieved over the coming years," he said.
"Inevitably both his and Lynette's deaths have been so very keenly felt by his squadron colleagues and across the regiment as a whole. He will be sorely missed by us all."