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Sobbing family's farewell to father.

Byline: EAVAN MURRAY

AS the coffin made its way into the packed church, the only sound was the sobbing of a grief-stricken daughter who cried out for her dad.

Hundreds of family, friends and colleagues crammed into Sinclair Seamen's Presbyterian Church in Belfast to bid farewell to Captain Michael Evans, 51, who died in last week's Cork air tragedy.

The father of four leaves behind his heartbroken wife, Andrea, sons Darren, Dean, and daughters Rebecca and Jordan.

There were emotional scenes as Deputy Harbour Master Capt Evans' wife and children said goodbye to their dad, who they described as "romantic, affectionate, softhearted, supportive, fair and generous to a fault", and "everything you could want in a father".

His teenage daughter Rebecca's cries of "Daddy" echoed throughout the small church throughout the service. Her voice breaking with emotion she read a moving poem, Remember by Christina Rosetti, in tribute to the dad she loved.

Capt Evans was described as a warmhearted, gruff-talking, hard-working, funny family man.

Originally from Hartlepool, England, he had a key role supervising shipping traffic in and out of Belfast Port.

He was instrumental in bringing the Tall Ships to Belfast in 2009. In the eulogy, Captain Kevin Allen, Harbour Master for the port, told mourners: "No matter who Michael met, or for how long, he always left an impression.

"He adored working here and was an integral part of the port and its community.

"If it is possible to pick one moment of a man's career to exemplify who he was it would be the 2009 Tall Ships.

"Michael worked tirelessly to ensure every marine aspect was right - and he did it his way with tenacity, enthusiasm, a huge energy - and through that work he gained the respect of all the organisations he came in contact with."

During the service Rev Drew Abernethy on behalf of the family asked mourners to pray for the other passengers who lost their lives in the crash and their families.

He also asked the congregation to remember in their prayers the survivors, two of whom attended the service.

Meanwhile, the funeral for businessman Richard Noble took place at Roselawn Crematorium in the outskirts of Belfast.

Mr Noble's body was taken from his family home in Jordanstown and the service was attended by the North's First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

CAPTION(S):

SURVIVORS Donal Walsh and Laurence Wilson FINAL JOURNEY Capt Evans' coffin is carried to cemetery TRIBUTE Michael Evans AGONY Tearful family outside Belfast church
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 18, 2011
Words:419
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