Mourn­ers pay last re­spects to ‘lov­ing, gifted, witty’ Matthew

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY MICHELLE WEIR

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.

PACE­MAKER

Mourn­ers at the funeral of Matthew Bradley at St Joseph’s Church, Gle­navy yes­ter­day. Left: Matthew with girl­friend Rhi Wil­liams

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