Belfast Telegraph

A true family man, full of fun: Funeral of fishing tragedy victim told of couple's plan to renew wedding vows

By Claire Williamson

The tragic angler pulled from a lough in the Republic was remembered as a "family man first and foremost" who was planning to renew his wedding vows next year.

Co Armagh man Daryl Burke (right) was fishing with two other men when their boat capsized in bad conditions on Lough Ree near Athlone, Co Westmeath, last month.

A multi-agency search drew to a close after RNLI crews who had been scouring the lough found the 30-year-old's body near the shoreline last Saturday afternoon.

Mr Burke's funeral took place at St Columba's in Portadown yesterday, the church where he married his wife Louise who is expecting their fourth child. Reverend Canon Bill Adair conducted the service, where Mr Burke was hailed as a man who put his family first, and his home was described as a "shrine to family life".

"There wasn't a day go past that Daryl didn't tell Louise that he loved her," Rev Adair said.

"And if he managed not to get to say it, he sent her a text.

"He was a bit of a romantic at heart and the two of them had planned to renew their wedding vows next year, their 10th anniversary."

A "full-of-fun" father to three boys, Daryl was about to become a dad to a baby girl.

He was called a fighter and survivor – having battled testicular cancer and receiving the all-clear after 10 years.

He had also recovered from a major lung operation.

"Daryl loved to help others if he could," he added.

"Always smiling, he had a zest for life that seemed boundless, and he lived life to the full.

"Louise will not forget him, having three young boys and soon a daughter, she will be able to help them know and remember the kind of man Daryl was."

Daryl had loved fishing since he was a boy and enjoyed his work as a landscape gardener.

Rev Adair said: "I know that the family would like to thank them (people of Portadown and the people at Lough Ree) for their love and support and unbounded generosity and kindness while they waited anxiously for news of Daryl and kept vigil at Lough Ree.

"I know especially the family wish to thank all who so heroically searched night and day to recover Daryl's body and at last brought him home."

Rev Adair added: "Today we have representatives from all the community.

"All sides are united in a grief that has touched so many souls, tears have been shed by friend and stranger alike for there is a fellowship in suffering and in tragedy that sees a uniting of common humanity, where differences mean nothing. The family are so grateful for all your support."

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