Funeral for tragic schoolgirl (12) who died of heart condition

 Tragic Caoimhe McCullough (left) and her funeral procession (right) at Holy Family Church
 Tragic Caoimhe McCullough (left) and her funeral procession (right) at Holy Family Church  Tragic Caoimhe McCullough (left) and her funeral procession (right) at Holy Family Church

A FUNERAL in Belfast heard yesterday how a schoolgirl who died from a heart condition had been "bursting with life and affection".

There were emotional scenes as family and friends said farewell to 12 year-old Caoimhe McCullough, a pupil at Little Flower in north Belfast, who died on Friday.

Hundreds turned out to pay their respects at the Holy Family Church on the Limestone Road, many wearing pink ribbons in memory of the schoolgirl.

The Year 8 pupil died on Friday morning as a result of a heart condition.

As recently as May Caoimhe, from Windermere Gardens in the Cavehill area, had taken part in a residential trip with schoolmates at the Share Centre in Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh.

However, it is understood her heart had stopped "a number of times" in recent months and she had received hospital treatment.

Following her death, Caoimhe's family took the brave decision to donate her organs in a bid to give life to others.

Yesterday, pupils from Little Flower formed a guard of honour as their school friend's remains arrived at Holy Family Church in a white coffin.

Other pupils from the school came together inside to provide the singing during the Requiem Mass.

Many of the school girls wore pink ribbons in their hair in tribute to Caoimhe, while many mourners also wore items of pink clothing.

Parish priest Fr Paul Strain told those gathered that Caoimhe had left a "big imprint" on life, given the number of mourners at the funeral.

He said the schoolgirl had "affected so many" with her "happy, outgoing attitude" and had been "bursting with life and affection".

Fr Strain recalled how Caoimhe has been a mascot for Cliftonville FC at one stage and had also starred as a suffragette in a production of Mary Poppins at her former primary school, St Therese of Lisieux.

Referencing her "hearty laugh", Fr Strain said the schoolgirl's family had shown "courage" by choosing to donate her organs to help others, following her death.

Following Mass, burial took place at Carnmoney Cemetery.

Caoimhe is survived by her parents Margaret and Billy, her brothers, Niall and Tiarnán and sister, Niamh.