Lauren Bullock ‘living the dream’ when her life was cut short

Teenager was ‘energetic and full of life’, priest tells mourners

The coffin of Lauren Bullock is taken from St Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

The coffin of Lauren Bullock is taken from St Patrick’s Church, Donaghmore. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA

 

Lauren Bullock was “living the dream” and had “a bright future in front of her and so much still to contribute” when her life was cut short on St Patrick’s night at the Cookstown hotel tragedy, her funeral was told today.

The 17-year-old student was one of three young people to die in a crush while queueing for a disco that night. The funerals of Morgan Barnard (17) and Connor Currie (16) are also taking place in Tyrone on Friday.

Morgan Barnard (left), Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie who died outside a disco in Cookstown on St Patrick’s night.
Morgan Barnard (left), Lauren Bullock and Connor Currie who died outside a disco in Cookstown on St Patrick’s night.

“St Patrick’s day 2019 in the parish of Donaghmore and beyond will not be remembered with any nostalgia,” chief celebrant Father David Moore told over 800 mourners in the packed St Patrick’s Church, in the village where Lauren grew up.

“Instead for many decades to come, St Patrick’s Day 2019 will be brought to mind as the awful day when three beautiful young people, all in the prime of their lives, were overpowered literally in the mad rush of the modern world, and needlessly lost their lives.”

Students from St Patrick’s College in Dungannon and Lauren’s cheerleading squad formed a guard of honour outside the church, many of them with purple ribbons pinned to their blazers.

Lauren was “the true essence of a wonderful and caring daughter, a sister, a granddaughter and a niece to her family, and a loyal and very caring friend to so many others,” mourners were told.

She was “energetic and full of life” who was “happiest when she was doing things to help others,” Fr Moore said.

She was “a girlie girl” who had “a warm and bubbly personality with a very infectious smile.”

The offertory gifts included momentos of her many interests — she was a cheerleader, a footballer, a scout who had just begun learning to drive, and whose dog, Benji, was her “pride and joy”.

Fr Moore spoke of the “numbness” that has taken hold of the community in the aftermath of Sunday night’s tragedy. “This is one of the hardest journeys you will ever travel,” he told her family — her parents, two brothers, and grandparents.

“A dark threatening cloud hung over all of us, as we struggled to understand and to come to terms with the tragic turn of events on what ought have been a night of fun, friendship, laughter, dance.” Instead, the whole community was left in a state of shock at the news of Lauren’s tragic death, and the deaths of Morgan and Connor.

The funeral was attended by Archbishop Eamon Martin, the Primate of All Ireland. Earlier, Archbishop Martin offered prayers to the families of the bereaved and “all of those who were caught up in the horror and distress of what happened, including those injured and traumatised, and the emergency services and staff who responded.”

“When the lives of three young people are taken away so abruptly, and in the fullness of their youth and potential, we are left speechless and the grief is overwhelming. Words are inadequate at times like this: only compassion, love and faith can offer consolation to their loved ones,” he said.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone and the Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, were also in attendance.

The principal at St Patrick’s College, Catherine McHugh — who read a poem called Afterglow at the church — earlier described Lauren as a “leader among her peers and a quiet, strong and loyal presence”. Lauren was a “treasured friend and capable young lady with a bright future.”