Tributes have been paid to a “one of a kind” Newry man who lost a four-week battle with coronavirus on Thursday.
David Andrews (Snr), who was 67, passed away at Antrim Area Hospital having spent time in Daisy Hill and Craigavon Hospitals battling Covid-19.
Mr Andrews was a member of the Commons Silver Band in Newry who led the tributes following his passing.
“As a band it is with our deepest sorrow that we inform you of the passing of one of our loyal friends, highly esteemed members and past Band Master Mr. David Andrews (Snr) on Thursday 23rd April,” a spokesperson said.
“Our love and deepest condolences go out to Heather, Frances, Askey, David & their families during this difficult time.
“Davy, who was approaching 60 years in the band, was always a great steadfast member, someone who always showed encouragement, right up until recently with the purchase of our new uniforms, but above all he was an outstanding musician who truly formed the foundations of the band through his strong and creative drumming. He truly was one of a kind!
“Davy from your entire Commons family, we will miss you dearly and may you Rest in Peace.”
Former Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy said he was “deeply grieved” at Mr Andrews’s passing.
“[He was] someone I’ve known and counted as a friend for over 40 years,” he said.
“He was a very fine man. He was a man of many talents and interests- a man of music with a natural ability of rhythm, he was a brilliant side drummer and could handle a drum kit with ease – he loved football – I was with him and other friends in Espana’82 watching our beloved Northern Ireland.
“He loved everything about The Commons Silver Band and the local community in that area.
“He loved and was active in the Loyal Orders of his home city.
“He loved his Church, Sandys Street and its choir, and most importantly he was a man of faith and loved his Lord.
“This is a desperately sad time for Heather, Frances, Askey and David and the entire family circle, as well as his colleagues in the Commons Silver Band and everyone who knew, liked and admired David as a person.
“I pray God’s presence and blessing and comfort on them in these sad and difficult days. May God Bless you all.”
SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt said she was “just devastated at this news”.
“David was a gentleman and will be sorely missed by us all here in the community. He was a great neighbour. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this very sad time. God Bless.”
Ulster Unionist councillor David Taylor added: “On behalf of all the members of South Down Defenders Flute Band could I extend our deepest sympathies to David’s entire family.
“Our thoughts particularly at this difficult time are with Heather, Frances, Askey and David and the extended family circle.
“We also want to extend our sincere condolences to our friends in the Commons Silver Band.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with each one of you as you endure the grief of losing Davy who I know was held so dear by you all.”