Together in life, together in death.. nothing can split them asunder now; Joint funeral for couple at wedding church.
Byline: JILLY BEATTIE
THE tragic couple who died on honeymoon last week are to be buried together from the church where they were married.
John and Lynette Rodgers, from Co Down, are believed to have drowned while swimming off the coast of South Africa last Friday.
They had exchanged wedding vows just six days earlier.
Now a joint funeral is expected to take place at First Presbyterian Church in Holywood where they were married on October 17.
Postmortems were due to take place today and it is hoped the remains will be returned to their devastated families on Thursday or Friday for a joint funeral shortly afterwards.
A family friend said: "They were very much together in life, they were together in death and nothing can split them asunder now.
"The love our dear Lynette and John enjoyed brought their families together.
"The Rodgers and Reilly families are now one and that's how they'll stay.
"They were brought together in love, they will remain together during this tragedy and love will see them through their roughest days and nights. Sadly they have no choice.
"Lynette and John had barely arranged their lives together let alone made arrangements for the unthinkable. That burden now lies with their parents and friends.
"We're hoping to be able to have their funeral on Saturday or early next week.
"Saturday would mark the second week anniversary of their wedding and we still have to have them brought home from South Africa, although the authorities have been very helpful.
"Everyone is rallying round to help where they can but it still seems unreal, and it is certainly unfair and unfathomable this could have happened."
The wedding presents bought for John, 28 and his 26-year-old bride are still in their home, just waiting to be arranged to their perfect place as married life began.
But now they will have to be dealt with by grieving loved ones amidst the shock that of days has engulfed the two families and their local communities.
John's family released a statement yesterday that said six years ago the Ballygowan man had met the love of his life - his future bride.
The statement said: "Lynette had always been considered a member of the family and as one of us.
"They will always be remembered as one, a couple destined to be together forever."
John, who worked for a print company, and physiotherapist Lynette were found by walkers at Plettenberg Bay on Friday.
They had gone for a swim together but were unable to cope after being caught in a rip tide.
Their bodies had washed ashore 200 metres from each other.
Gordon Dunne, DUP MLA, knows the Reilly family and said: "We all, within Holywood, are deeply shocked at what has happened. "The town is mourning today and will do for a number of days."
North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon added: "They set off on honeymoon, their whole lives are ahead of them and, within the week, devastation has struck.
The town is mourning today and will do for a number of days GORDON DUNNE HOLYWOOD YESTERDAY
GRIEVING Church in Holywood
loving touch Lynette and John Rodgers at their wedding in Co Down