B. J. Collins 1958 -2002  

Died 31st December, 2002
Funeral 10th January 2003

Railway Street
Presbyterian Church
Railway street, Lisburn

Address by Very Rev. Dr. Cromie

Today we have come together from many walks of life throughout this community as well as from Scotland, England and Dubai. We are here to express our deep sorrow at the tragic death of Brian Collins and to extend our heartfelt sympathy to his dear wife, Lorna, and their children - Ethan and Archie, to his parents, Jim and Elva, his brother Darryl, his sisters Lisa and Gail and the whole family circle.

We find it hard to take it in, for Brian had just returned on the Friday after the Christmas holidays and then came the news of his tragic death on New Year's Eve. Our hearts go out to you all, so we pray that God will comfort and sustain you.

In Psalm 46 David the Psalmist, who had come through so many tragedies in his life says this: - " God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble." Those words have brought comfort and strength to people in all sorts of situations and especially in times of sorrow and distress.

Brian James Collins was born in Canada, in Prince George, British Columbia, on the 2nd May 1958. Four years later the family returned to Ireland and became members of Railway Street Church.

Brian was educated at Brownlee Primary School, Coleraine Academical Institution, where he boarded for a number of years, and then returned to Friends School in Lisburn. From there he went to Queen's University, Belfast, where he gained an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering. He also gained an M.B.A. from Queen's and a Diploma in Petrol Engineering from the Robert Gordon Institute in Aberdeen. Brian had an aptitude for exams, and indeed only last Monday he received a certificate in Scuba Diving.

Brian not only enjoyed his studies, he was also a natural sportsman. He rowed for Coleraine when he was at C.A.I.; he also played rugby for Lisbum as well as for North. He loved sport and enjoyed the companionship of a wide circle of friends. There was always laughter when B.J. was in the midst.

In his forty-four years Brian lived a very full life. As an engineer he had wide experience working in many different parts of the world. He worked on oil drilling in Alberta, Canada, in Azerbaijan, one of the former Soviet Republics, on the oil rigs in Aberdeen, and then more recently in Dubai where he was Drilling Co-ordinator on Kish Island in the Gulf of Iran.

Though his work took him away to foreign parts Brian always enjoyed coming home to his loved ones. He and Loma were married in Craigie-Buckler Church of Scotland, Aberdeen, on 1st July 1988. They had fourteen very happy years together and were blessed with two lovely boys - Ethan, now aged eight and Archie, four. We can only try to imagine how great is the loss they have sustained. The same is true when we think of Jim and Elva, Darryl, Lisa, Gail and all the family, as well as his workmates and his many friends.

Brian had a very winsome personality coupled with a great sense of humour; as well he had a kind and generous spirit. Qualities, which I can trace, back not only to his Father but also to his Grandfather, the late Mr. Isaac Collins, who was such a faithful elder here in this church.

When a tragedy like this happens it pulls us all up short. It's so easy for any of us to take life for granted as if we were here for ever. We need to pay heed to the fact that life is an uncertain quantity. We never know whether our days are going to be long or short. We only hold on to life by a very slender thread. I was reminding the congregation here in Railway Street of this just two Sundays ago.

If there is one thing that Brian would want to say to you today, and particularly to those of you who were of his own age group and his own personal friends it would be this: - "Get your priorities right. In the end of the day there is only one who is able to meet the deepest need of the human heart and that is Jesus Christ who says -'I am come that you might have life and that you might have it in all its fullness.'"

With Brian I too would appeal to you today - don't put it off, make your peace with God - then you can go on to discover life in all its fullness. Then when your Call comes, whether it be sudden or after warning, you will be able to say with a smile - "I am ready, Lord." Facing the future in that spirit we need have no fear for we know that "God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble."

And To God Be The Glory.
The Very Rev Dr Howard Cromie.


Interred in Blaris New Cemetery, Lisburn