Barbers to close for funeral service of Dean McIlwaine

A funeral service for Dean McIlwaine will take place today. (THURS)
A funeral service for Dean McIlwaine will take place today. (THURS)

Barber shops in Belfast and Newtownabbey will close for a period today for the funeral of a 22-year-old, whose body was found at Cave Hill Country Park.

Hundreds of mourners are expected to gather together at Carnmoney Presbyterian Church for a funeral service for barber, Dean McIlwaine, who was found on Saturday after widespread searches.

The Newtownabbey man, who had been due to open his own business, had last been seen in the Carnmoney Road area on July 13.

Since then, hundreds of volunteers had come together to help his family find him.

On Saturday, an intensive search of Cave Hill Country Park by more than 400 volunteers and specialist rescue teams eventually located his remains.

Police have indicated that his death is not being treated as suspicious.

Shankill Road funeral director Stephen McCosh has offered to take care of the burial arrangements without charge.

A number of barber shops in Belfast and Newtownabbey will close for the funeral to allow staff to attend.

Gary Corrigan, manager of Scholars & Scoundrels barber shop in Donegall Street in Belfast, described Dean as "talented" and "popular".

Mr Corrigan knew Dean when the pair worked together at Gavin James The Gentleman's Barber shop, where Dean served his time training as a barber.

Mr Corrigan described Dean as "very, very talented".

"He had a big smile on him," he said.

"He was punctual. He never missed work. He was very dedicated. He was very, very talented. He had an eye for detail. He was very particular".

Mr Corrigan said Dean would be missed "100 per cent".

"Right up until he was found, everyone was sure he was alive," he said.

"It was tragic, absolute disbelief. There was a wee drop in your heart".

Mr Corrigan said Scholars & Scoundrels in Belfast and Gavin James The Gentleman's Barber shop in Newtownabbey would both close for a time for the funeral.

"He was one of our own," he said.

"He was a member of the team".