Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Boyzone to hold all-night vigil at Stephen Gately's coffin

Boyzone

Boyzone will fly to Majorca today to bring the body of their tragic bandmate Stephen Gately home to his beloved Dublin.

Ronan, Shane, Mikey and Keith are hiring a private jet to bring their "brother" home for a final goodbye. They will be joined by a family representative.

The grieving boyband will then accompany Stephen's remains to St Laurence O'Toole's church in Sheriff Street where they are expected to keep an all-night vigil.

Preparations are currently in place at the church to have it cleaned up for Saturday's funeral service.

The Boyz attended a Dublin funeral parlour on Tuesday to arrange the final details of Stephen's final farewell.

They also spent a number of hours with Stephen's devastated parents at their inner city home.

Stephen's mum Margaret is said to be comforted by the band's support.

His family have asked that donations are sent to Caudwell Children's Family instead of flowers. Stephen was a goodwill ambassador for the Stoke-based charity who say he "could never do enough" for them.

A further memorial service is expected to be held in London, where Stephen and his husband Andy had their home.

A statement from Boyzone yesterday read: "Ronan, Keith, Mikey and Shane would once more like to thank everyone for the great many messages of condolence they have received.

"Seeing the love and warmth that so many people have felt for Stephen has been a true comfort for them over the past few days."

Stephen's friend and Boyzone manager Louis Walsh says he won't be making a speech at the funeral.

Devastated Louis, who won't be appearing on The X Factor for the second week in a row, says he would "collapse" if he had to talk.

He said: "They asked me to get involved but I couldn't -- I thought I'd break down.

"The emotions and nerves would be worse than any X Factor show. I don't like real life, that's why I love the pop business. In my little world nobody dies and nobody gets sick. I should have more sense but that's the way I am.

"Seeing his body at the funeral will hit me hard because it still hasn't sunk that he's gone."

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