Memorial service held for former Standard journalist who died in Ethiopian Airline crash

Jane Nyambura (center), her daughters and other mourners follow proceedings at the memorial site of the late Anthony Ngare who died in an Ethiopian Airline crash. [Jacinta Mutura/Standard]
A sombre mood engulfed Burguret village near Nanyuki town as family and friends of former journalist Anthony Wanjohi Ngare held a memorial service.

Mourners gathered at Ngare's home and keenly followed proceedings of the service that was kicked-off by celebration of Holy Mass.

Dressed in a black dress and pink scarf, Ngare's widow Jane Nyambura sat with her two daughters as speaker after speaker praised Ngare's character.

Ngare, 46, was among 157 passengers aboard the ill-fated Flight ET302 who died in the March 10 crash. Before his death, he had spent one week in Paris, France on official assignment.

Ngare was deputy director of communications at the Kenya National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

He previously worked for The Standard where he continued writing a weekly column, ‘The Banter’ in the Pulse magazine before moving to the National Environment Management Authority where he served as acting director of communications for two years.

Mourners lit candles and a portrait of the father-of-two was placed in front of the altar during Mass. Moving tributes poured in as relatives, friends and workmates described Ngare as courageous, hardworking and a staunch Catholic faithful.

Ms Nyambura described her husband of 10 years as a kind man who always reached out to the unprivileged and offered his support.

“Today I celebrate him because he was a loving husband and a caring father to our children. Tony was a blessing to me,” she said.

Relatives narrated how they waited for Ngare by preparing his favourite food, chapati, after he had told them that he would be home by noon on the fateful day.

Ngare's 10-year-old daughter Sandrine Wairimu could not hold back her tears as she read her tribute mourning her father who she described as her motivator.

“My dad taught me so many things. He always had great expectations for me. He would set new targets for me to achieve in school and he would reward me. Dad encouraged me to join co-curriculum activities and he was excited when I joined the school choir. I will miss him so much."

Nyambura recalled how Sandrine wrote letters to her father to express love and gratitude. “Her perfect way of expressing herself through letters made me believe that her father’s writing talent will live in her."

Ngare's earnest enthusiasm for football also came out in the tributes as the mourners described how he influenced his family members to become fans of Arsenal Football Club.

At the memorial site, which was decorated with marble, remains of the ill-fated plane and soil were placed near an inscribed gravestone that bore Ngare's image.

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former journalist Anthony  NgareFlight ET302Ethiopian Airline crash victims