Northern Ireland news

Mourners at funeral of Rían Nolan hear how his 'infectious smile and generous spirit won the hearts of so many'

The funeral of schoolboy Rían Nolan has taken place

MOURNERS at the funeral of schoolboy Rían Nolan today heard how his "infectious smile and generous spirit certainly won the hearts of so many people".

Priest Fr Kevin McGuckien described how the 14-year-old from west Belfast had "touched the lives of many people".

Family and friends gathered at St Peter's the Rock Church, Stoneyford for the teenager's funeral following his death last Saturday.

A student at the former CBS school on the Glen Road, he passed away peacefully at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children's Haematology unit.

Mourners heard that "all who knew and loved Rían have had their hearts under a pall of darkness since the news of his death filtered through the community on Saturday morning".

Fr McGuckien described how "Rían's health has been a rollercoaster over these six months" as he received treatment in Belfast and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London,

But he said the teenager "showed remarkable courage throughout his illness".

The priest also told mourners of how the teenager's family had "travelled to the end of the world and would have made any sacrifice for your Rían - because you all loved him dearly".

"You have many precious memories of Rían which you will frequently recall," he said.

"They are wonderful memories of Rían who was always happy and cheerful and indeed at times mischievous."

Fr McGuckien added: "He generated so much laughter and fun in the lives of his family and all those with whom he came in contact".

The priest also spoke about Rían's love of football and his enjoyment playing for St James Swift under-16s.

Rí­an played as a forward for St James Swift under-16 team

"As his mentor has testified, Rían was a loyal and very committed team member who faithfully turned up for training every Tuesday and Thursday evening and then for the match every Saturday," he said.

"I would like to say to his teammates who played alongside him in St. James Swifts - remember Rían’s determination, loyalty, faithfulness, and commitment - strive to live his vision and if you do - his memory will live on in the club.

"Rían would want each one of you to continue to do your best for the club for that is what he would have done.

"Rían in his short life has touched the lives of many people - all those who were fortunate to have met him. His infectious smile and generous spirit certainly won the hearts of so many people.

"He will be long remembered."

Rían is survived by his parents Peter and Janet, sister Alanna and family circle.

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