NEWS — 17 February 2014

By staff reporter

THE funeral of Patrick Halpin, the Galway teenager who died during a university trip to London, has been remembered at a funeral Mass in his home town of Loughrea.

Over one thousand people attended the mass last weekend for the actuary student at St Brendan’s Cathedral where his sister Regina paid a moving tribute to her only brother.

She recalled Patrick’s love of sport; playing volleyball for Ireland, representing his community in hurling and practicing karate, like his mum.

She described their race to read Harry Potter, how he adored IQ and Top Gear, and how they would watch re-runs of Friends and comedian Dara Ó Briain together.

But she said it was her brother’s love of theatre and his time with Loughrea Youth Theatre (LYT) that saw him really come into his own. She told the congregation how they would often spend hours singing songs from all the musicals, Patrick knowing every word to every song.

Regina asked those gathered not to think of how Patrick died, but to remember the brilliance of his sort life. “I want to go back to this idea of tragedy and tell you that there isn’t one. He had reached perfection and God took him, he won’t be reduced by the evils of this world. He is not gone too soon, he is gone just in time”, she said.

“Live your life as if you are forever 18. Live your life like Patrick had, with a smile and a song”, she urged.

On behalf of the Halpin family, she thanked the Metropolitan Police, the gardai and all those who helped look for Patrick, physically and via social media.

The subject of social media was taken up by celebrant Fr Joe Clarke, who said that, though it is often seen for its negative sides, it can also be used for good in times of crisis, as it was when thousands shared the appeal to find Patrick.

A guard of honour was formed as Patrick’s body was taken from the church, made up of local clubs he had been a member of. His remains were carried from the local church to the cemetery, where he was laid to rest, by members of the Kilnadeema-Leitrim club.

Patrick’s body was found on the roof of a Burger King outlet in Leicester Square on February 6. He had gone missing just after midnight on February 5, after leaving the nearby Zoo nightclub and telling friends he was going to get something to eat.

He had been in London on a trip with the DCU drama group, and had tickets to see hit musical Book of Mormons.

A post-mortem examination proved inconclusive, and Patrick’s family were told they will have to wait for the results of further tests before they know what happened to their son.

A memorial mass organised by the Galway Association London was held in London on Thursday, Feb 13 at the Sacred Heart Church on Quex Road.

Patrick’s mother, father and sister Regina were present, as were representatives from the Galway Association, the Council of Irish Counties Association, the London County Board GAA, the Metropolitan police and the London- Irish business community.

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