Northern Ireland news

Hundreds of young people come together at special service for Greenvale victims

From left, Connor Currie (16), Lauren Bullock (17) and Morgan Barnard (17) died following a crush outside a St Patrick's Day disco at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown 

HUNDREDS of young people came together at a special service in Cookstown yesterday to remember the teenagers who lost their lives in the Greenvale Hotel tragedy.

There were emotional scenes at Holy Trinity Church as pupils gathered to offer their prayers and sympathies to the families of Lauren Bullock, Connor Currie and Morgan Barnard.

Students from Holy Trinity College, Cookstown, St Mary's, Magherafelt and Cookstown High School joined teachers and staff as well as members of the local community for the memorial service.

Isabel Russell, principal of Holy Trinity College, told the congregation it was important they came together.

"We as a Holy Trinity College community are glad to welcome everyone here to offer our heartfelt prayers and sympathy to the families of the three young people who died so tragically," she said.

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"It should have been a night of enjoyment as we celebrated our national saint, St Patrick.

"But instead, it was a night of disbelief, shock and numbness as the evening unfolded and we learned of the deaths of three students who belonged to our neighbouring schools.

"We remember especially these students who have joined their post-primary school and gone from year eight to 12 and 13 and they probably didn't have a care in the world, looking forward to a night out with friends.

"You may not know them personally, but you may know someone who is related to them or is a friend of theirs.

"Whilst it is important to hold onto happy memories of them, we also need to think about their families and their friends who are trying to come to terms with what has happened and grieving for their loss."

Ms Russell encouraged students to talk to teachers and counsellors about the tragedy.

"Talk to the staff, talk to your parents, and let them know what is on your mind," she said.

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"Keep yourself busy, get on with your normal routine as best as you can.

"Feelings will change over time, and how you are feeling today, tomorrow, next week, will change with time."

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