Mourners at funeral of Matthew Bradley hear how he had a 'life full of so much further promise'
MOURNERS at the funeral of a Co Antrim man killed in a hit and run in Liverpool heard yesterday how he had a "life full of so much further promise".
Priest Fr Colm McBride said Matthew Bradley from Glenavy was a "witty and generous young man, willing to help and support" and his death had left his family and friends "paralysed by senselessness and tragedy".
Hundreds of people yesterday gathered at St Joseph's Church, Glenavy to say their final farewells to the landscape gardener, who died after he was struck by a car in Liverpool earlier this month.
Two people are to appear in court in connection with his death next month.
The 24-year-old's death is the second road tragedy to affect his family after his brother David died, aged five, in 1994 after being knocked down near his home.
Fr McBride told mourners that there had been "great expectations for Matthew and his life".
"The tragic circumstances of Matthew's death can lead to feelings of anger and frustration," he said.
"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.
"Since the news of his death reached us as a community has been united in grief and quiet despair with Margaret and Donald and their family, deeply aware that this is the second such occasion in their life.
"Up to a few days ago there was nothing but great expectations for Matthew and his life.
"But now we have gathered in prayer to celebrate that life and give thanks to God for Matthew and all that made him unique, special, gifted."
Mr Bradley had attended Aquinas Grammar School, Belfast before studying horticulture at CAFRE’s Greenmount campus.
After working with his father doing landscaping and brick paving at Cornerstone Paving in Crumlin, he moved to Surrey, where his girlfriend Rhiannon was based. He was in Liverpool to attend a friend's stag party.
In May, he was part of the Surrey-based landscaping team Landform, which took gold at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show for the 'Seedlip Garden'.
"In a real and wonderful way Greenmount College was where Matthew discovered the ground in which his life would flourish," said Fr McBride.
"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. Matthew could have lived on that for the rest of his life."