Connor (16) ‘lit up a room’, mourners at funeral told

Cookstown victim remembered as ‘courteous and appreciative young student’

 Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin  join mourners at the funeral of Connor Currie.  Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill of Sinn Féin join mourners at the funeral of Connor Currie. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

 

Connor Currie, the third of the Cookstown victims to be laid to rest on Friday, was remembered in his home parish church in Edendork as a teenager who “lit up a room” and warmed everyone’s hearts with his “infectious smile”.

As with the earlier funerals of 17-year-old Morgan Barnard in Dungannon and of 17-year-old Lauren Bullock in Donaghmore St Malachy’s Church in Edendork was filled to overflowing for the funeral of the 16-year-old.

The three teenagers lost their lives after they got caught in a crush when with some 400 other young people they were queuing to enter a disco in Cookstown, Co Tyrone on St Patrick’s night.

The chief mourners were Connor’s parents, Eamon and Ciara and his three younger brothers Sean, Cormac and Cahir. And again, as with the two earlier funerals, a feature of the service was the large attendance of students from schools in the wider area of Tyrone area, many who were in Cookstown on Sunday night for the Greenvale Hotel disco.

As well as the students there were many teachers at all three funerals. On Thursday English teacher Robert Devlin explained how Connor was able to marry his love of English with some keen observation.

“A couple of weeks ago (Connor) stated casually on his way out the door, ‘If the UK had Lady Macbeth instead of Theresa May as prime minister they would have had Brexit sorted months ago’,” said Mr Wilson in a BBC report

“I loved that about him, very clever, small moments that shone a light on his individuality,” he said.

The chief celebrant and parish priest of Dungannon, Father Kevin Donaghy, also referred to his individuality, his gifts and abilities in his homily.

“Thankfully Connor lived through a lot of the more positive experiences: he knew an abundance of times to laugh and even some times to dance,” he said.

“Over the years of his young life there was a lot of time to build up his academic success and his sporting skill; plenty of time to keep in his memories of good times with family and friends - treasured times together,” said Fr Donaghy.

“Most of all Connor knew a great amount of time to love and to be loved, most especially within his own family where despite his young age he had a remarkable capacity to look after his younger brothers,” he added.

Fr Donaghy said that in recent days “Connor’s parents and close family have been greatly comforted by the good memories shared with them by Connor’s classmates and team-mates and teachers and friends”.

“Friends have recalled how he lit up a room as he entered it and his infectious smile warmed everyone’s hearts,” he said.

“Teachers remember him as a courteous and appreciative young student, always in the habit of saying thank you as he left the classroom - though he maybe let that be the passport that got him through an odd bit of mischief as well,” he added.

Fr Donaghy said Connor was a “conscientious student who had his sights set on doing accountancy - the office desk and computer set-up in his bedroom a sure sign that he was preparing for a life of paperwork, computers and figures”.

He also referred to how among the symbols brought to the altar before Mass to represent Connor’s life was a GAA football trophy demonstrating that he “was a star on the football field as well”.

“And a winner indeed he was: a winner of a loving family; a winner of many loyal friends and team-mates; a winner in school life and on the sports field - and a winner above all, of a place among the ranks of God’s children,” said Fr Donaghy.