Funeral priest stresses ‘help is out there’

Funeral priest stresses ‘help is out there’

9 January 2019

A PRIEST at the funeral of 15 year-old Aaron Laverty urged mourners to “talk to someone” no matter what they were facing. 

Aaron, from Gallaun in Downpatrick, tragically died in the early hours of December 28 after taking his own life.

White floral wraths bearing the words ‘Bro’ and ‘Son’ accompanied his coffin as the funeral cortege arrived at St Patrick’s Church in Downpatrick last Wednesday morning.

Around 50 of Aaron’s young friends, all wearing baseball hats in a touching tribute to him, flanked the church entrance as he was carried inside to the sound of Amazing Grace. 

Fr Liam Toland spoke of Aaron, who would have celebrated his 16th birthday at the end of January, in happier times, of his love of football and his interest in becoming a bricklayer.

He said Aaron had earned himself the name as “the Hat-Trick Kid” due to his prowess at football and added: “Aaron would always have greeted you with a cheeky smile, he was very caring and he looked to for everyone.”

Aaron was a pupil at the Downpatrick Alternative Education Provision (AEP) and his family asked Fr Toland to express their gratitude to staff for all they did for Aaron.

“In the AEP he was really beginning to blossom, to get his confidence, to look forward to going out to work,” said Fr Toland.

The priest told mourners that Aaron had recently gone to Belfast Learning Trade Centre where he had shown great aptitude and interest in bricklaying.

He said that while Aaron was “very helpful, kind and thoughtful and loved by all,” there came a moment last week when he made a fateful decision.

“His family loved him, his family were there for him. If they had any notion of what was going to happen, then they would have been round him protecting him and seeking help.

“No one knows what was in Aaron’s heart except God himself. So we step back and leave Aaron in the presence of God, who is mercy.”

Fr Toland stressed to mourners that Aaron’s family urged anyone in the community who was in despair to seek help.

He added: “The family would like to say that they wouldn’t want the pain they are experiencing to be experienced by any other family.

“To the young people who are here, those words are great wisdom to take to your heart. No matter what it is, talk to someone. Self-injury is a permanent solution to something which is perhaps temporary and superficial. There is help there.”

Members of Aaron’s family took part in the service, delivering readings and taking part in the offertory.

Following the requiem mass, Aaron was laid to rest in Struell Cemetery.