Northern Ireland news

Funeral of north Belfast man Michael Cullen to take place on Tuesday

The funeral of Michael Cullen will take place on Tuesday

THE funeral of talented musician Michael Cullen whose body was recovered from Cave Hill Country Park following a high-profile search is to take place on Tuesday.

His family said that a "funeral service for his life" would be held at Sacred Heart Church in north Belfast.

The remains of the 33-year-old from the North Circular Road were found on Wednesday, more than three weeks after he disappeared.

Hundreds of people had taken part in searches, appeals and a social media campaign in a bid to find Mr Cullen, who was last seen on January 9. The search investigation had involved a police helicopter, drones and specialist search dogs.

Previous searches of the Cave Hill beauty spot, involving mountain rescue teams and volunteers, failed to locate the Ulster University research officer, who was well known in local music circles.

But on Wednesday, his family confirmed his body had been found by rescue teams on Cave Hill close to where he was last seen.

"Despite all of our best efforts over the past three weeks, tragically it is not the outcome that all of us wished and prayed so hard for," they said.

Michael's brother Colm said his loved ones had lost "a brother, a son and a great friend".

"We would like to thank everyone who helped us and supported us in this hard and tragic time and we would also like to give a big thank you to the Community

Rescue Service Belfast and to all members of the public who helped us search for him," he wrote on Facebook.

"Rest easy my brother we'll cross paths again soon."

Michael Cullen's funeral will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Church, Oldpark Road at 11am. His family asked for family flowers only, but donations if desired to be made to the Community Rescue Service.

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