Cork boy's family urges support for mother


THE FAMILY of a schoolboy who died in Charleville this week appealed at his funeral yesterday for support for the boy’s mother, who has been charged with his murder.

Anthony Ward (8) was found dead at the home he shared with his mother, Diane, at Harrison’s Place in Charleville, Co Cork, on Monday. Ms Ward was charged with her son’s murder on Wednesday.

There were poignant scenes at Anthony’s funeral at the Church of the Holy Cross in Charleville when his uncle, Tom Ward, recalled his sister Diane’s devotion to her son.

“I would like people to reflect that Diane is a sister, a daughter and a wonderful mother – over the last eight years she geared her life to Anthony. She loved him as much as any mother does any child,” said Mr Ward

“She devoted all her time, energy and effort into helping Anthony through all aspects of his daily life, which was well reflected in all the activities he was so brilliant at.”

He said both Diane and Anthony’s father, Mark Ryan, had adored their son and had happily spoiled him to make sure he wanted for nothing, including love. “Diane was not without her problems but with great strength and determination tried to keep her troubles on a level balance for so long. Somewhere along her journey things took a bad turn and we all find ourselves here today.

“Diane must now face her greatest challenge down a long road where none of us are certain of her future. We ask you all in the weeks and months ahead to pray for her in her greatest hours of need,” he told mourners.

Mr Ryan said he had always believed Diane whenever she told him anything and he hoped whenever he meets her again that that will still be the case.

“I know what happened is very bad . . . when I meet her again I hope she has more to say to me and that I have no badness in my heart towards her and that there is a bit of good in my heart for her.”

There were poignant scenes as he recalled how Anthony had packed a lot into his short life. Mr Ryan’s one regret was that he never bought him the horse that his son was always asking him for.

“He wanted a horse and I kept saying to him ‘I will buy one for you when you’re 10’. I hope that heaven is full of horses and you can have whatever choice you want,” he said, as mourners wept throughout the church.

Earlier Tom Ward recalled how his nephew was an exuberant boy who, if he wasn’t playing with his bike or his quad or his go-cart, he was with his pony Tonto or his dogs Coco and Minnie or practising Tae Kwon Do.

Parish priest Canon Seán Cotter asked people to rally round and pray for the Ward and Ryan families in their great grief and pain over the loss of Anthony, who was embraced in the love of the Lord.

Anthony’s classmates from Newtownshandrum National School and friends from Charleville Tae Kwon Do Club formed a guard of honour as the cortege left the church and, led by Anthony’s pony Tonto, made the journey through the main street of Charleville to the local cemetery, where he was buried.