Northern Ireland news

North Belfast schoolboy Cillian Draine had 'voracious appetite for life and fun'

Mourners gathered in north Belfast yesterday for Requiem Mass for Cillian Draine (11), who died on Friday 
Marie Louise McConville

A SCHOOLBOY who died suddenly in his north Belfast home "brought joy to everyone he met", mourners heard at his funeral yesterday.

Family and friends, who gathered for Requiem Mass for 11-year-old Cillian Draine, heard him described as "bubbly and caring and incredibly kind."

The youngster, who was a Year 8 student at Blessed Trinity College and was a boxer with Star Boxing Club, died suddenly on Friday.

Speaking to the congregation at the Church of St Therese of Lisieux, Fr Gary Donegan said Cillian had "made a huge difference to all who knew him."

He said the young man's death had devastated the community.

"The sense of concern and support is palpable," he said.

"You can literally feel it in the air. Everyone is thinking about this little family today, and the tragic loss of this child, Cillian.

"The natural order has been shattered. No parent expects to face the death of one of their children, especially at such a tender age. The sudden nature of Cillian’s death has intensified for all who love him, the deep sense of pain and loss that comes with grief."

Fr Donegan said Cillian, who was from Salisbury Avenue, had a "voracious appetite for life and fun, which was evident in the revolving door of Mary’s house as friends came and went."

"There were never enough hours in the day for Cillian to do everything that he wanted to do," he said.

"Life for Cillian was there to be enjoyed, and he lost no opportunity to experience as much of life as he could. To say Cillian was into everything was an understatement. He was creative, and inquisitive with a great passion and commitment to sport. He loved to be in the kitchen, cooking, baking and experimenting. Music and art were a massive part of Cillian’s life.

"His greatest love though, besides his family, was boxing. He was a dedicated and committed member of Star ABC...."

Fr Donegan said Cillian would be remembered for his kind nature, having intervened at one point to help a fellow pupil who was being bullied.

"What a wonderful legacy for anyone to leave behind for his family and especially for his friends," he said.

"Don’t be scared to show that you care. But also don’t be afraid to speak about Cillian to one another and to share the wonderful stories and memories of this special boy and friend. Don’t be afraid to say that he was special to you. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed about sharing tears when you do tell these stories to each other."

Following Requiem Mass, the funeral proceeded to Roselawn Crematorium.

Cillian is survived by his parents Mary and Mick and brothers Fiontan and Michael.

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