Mourners pay last respects to ‘loving, gifted, witty’ Matthew
A YOUNG Co Antrim man who died after being knocked down in Liverpool has been remembered as “unique, special and gifted”.
Scores of mourners turned out at St Joseph’s Church in Glenavy yesterday in tribute to Matthew Bradley (24) as he was laid to rest.
Parish priest Father Colm McBride told the packed church how Matthew had won a GAA Trophy as a Player of the Year in his early teens with St Joseph’s, before going on to excel in his career as a landscape gardener, earning an RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) medal despite his young age.
He said the community had been united in grief since his loss. “The tragic circumstances of Matthew’s death can lead to feelings of anger and frustration. We don’t anticipate celebrating a funeral Mass for a 24-year-old in the best of health with a life full of so much further promise,” he told those gathered.
“Since the news of his death reached us, a community has been united in grief and quiet despair with Margaret and Donal and their family, deeply aware that this is the second such oc- casion in their life. Up to a few days ago, there was nothing but great expectations for Matthew and his life.”
Fr McBride told mourners: “From his early years, Matthew was a loving, quiet, witty and generous young man, willing to help and support.
“When his big sisters were home from school stuck with their homework, Matthew would come in and ask ‘Is there anything you need? Can I get you something? They must have thought they were landed. ‘Matthew could you get me this, get me that’.”
Matthew was a past pupil of Ballymacrickett Primary School in Glenavy and Aquinas Grammar School in Belfast before proceeding to Greenmount College in Antrim to study landscape gardening, following in his father’s footsteps.
“In a real and wonderful way, Greenmount College (CAFRE) was where Matthew discovered the ground in which his life would flourish. Along with his GAA Trophy as a Player of the Year in his early teens with St Joseph’s, the mementoes placed on this table here are testimony to that. In his chosen career of landscape gardening, he was a winner as an individual and as a valued team member.
“To have an RHS medal by the age of 24 is truly remarkable,” Fr McBride added.
This is the second time tragedy has struck the family. Matthew’s brother David was just five years old when he died after being struck by a car near the family home in August 1994.
Police have appealed for information following the incident in Liverpool which claimed Matthew’s life on November 4.
Mourners at the funeral of Matthew Bradley at St Joseph’s Church, Glenavy yesterday. Left: Matthew with girlfriend Rhi Williams