Hundreds of people packed into Hillsborough Presbyterian Church this morning for the funeral of well known Northern Ireland restaurateur Derek Patterson.
Mr Patterson, who was co-owner of the Hillsborough-based Plough Group of restaurants and a well respected chef, passed away suddenly near his home last Tuesday.
The 53-year-old father-of-four's hospitality businesses included The Plough, Hillsborough, The Pheasant in Annahilt and The Tannery near Moira. He was also a founder of the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival.
Among the mourners at his funeral service, which was led by Rev Dr Allen Sleith, were renowned chefs and restaurant owners Michael Deane and Danny Millar.
A family notice described Mr Patterson as the "much-loved husband of Pamela, loving father of Max, Natasha, Toby and Amelia, dearly-loved son of Desmond and Muriel and brother of William and Richard".
Many heartfelt tributes were paid to Mr Patterson in the hours and days following his tragic passing, with one friend describing him as "a man ahead of his time" and "a huge loss to the industry."
A statement issued by Hospitality Ulster said: “Derek was not only known and loved by the members of the public who visited his bars and restaurants but he was a favourite of a number of Northern Ireland’s Secretaries of State when they lived in Hillsborough Castle and he’d have catered for them all at some stage.
“He was full of energy and very forward thinking and he was instrumental in bringing about the idea of the destination pub and restaurant in Northern Ireland - and now everyone has followed his lead. Our sympathies go to his loved ones. He will be sorely missed by so many.”