Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Girlfriend's moving eulogy to her 'gentle giant' David, taken by cancer at just 19

David Fleming and Nicole Elliott
David Fleming and Nicole Elliott

The heartbroken girlfriend of a Fermanagh teenager who died from cancer has paid a moving tribute to her "gentle giant".

David Fleming (19), from Lisbellaw, passed away at his home on Saturday surrounded by his beloved family and girlfriend, Nicole Elliott.

Nicole, who supported her "darling David" after it was discovered he had a very rare and aggressive brain tumour, has described the last few days as the hardest she has ever experienced.

On Facebook, she wrote: "Now I can say my amazing boyfriend is at rest. I promise that I will always love you. Rest in peace my darling David. My heart will always belong to you."

All those who knew the trainee electrician – a former pupil of Devenish College, Enniskillen – said he dealt with his illness with great courage and dignity.

Around 600 mourners joined the teenager's father Albert, mother Jackie, brother Mark and the rest of the family at his funeral in Lisbellaw Methodist Church on Tuesday. The service, conducted by Reverend Eleanor Hayden, included a special tribute from David's uncle, Reverend John Beacom.

Last night Rev Beacom told the Belfast Telegraph his nephew, who lived at Cloughcor Crescent in Lisbellaw, was an inspiration and he will be sorely missed.

"David was a happy-go-lucky person," Rev Beacom said.

"He was a quiet fella, but always surrounded by friends.

"When he was told he was terminally ill we met and prayed together.

"From then on he said he'd left it with God to deal with him."

Rev Hayden conducted Tuesday's service as the Fleming family minister, Rev Ruth Watts, is in the US at the moment. Rev Hayden said: "By all accounts David was an amazing young man.

"He had a huge heart. He never once asked why did this happen."

Rev Hayden said David's strength brought comfort to his family.

"They were strong because he was strong, but that doesn't relieve the pain and overwhelming loss," she added. "It's devastating for them."

David's faith helped him during his illness. Rev Hayden explained the one thing that sustained him was that he had "invited God to be with him on his journey".

Last night Rev Hayden said the close-knit community in Lisbellaw was rallying to support the Fleming family and young Nicole.

"I was with David's mother and father yesterday and they found the whole funeral service to bring a great sense of comfort, but there will be difficult days ahead."

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