Family bids emotional farewell at funeral for popular singer Rainy Boy Sleep
Family and friends of Stevie Martin, known throughout the music industry as singer Rainy Boy Sleep, comforted each other at his funeral service in Londonderry yesterday.
Mr Martin's remains were discovered by gardai on a beach in Co Sligo earlier this week, three weeks after he disappeared.
His mother, Marina, and sisters Sinead and Sarah and brother Sean paid their tributes through poetry.
His grieving mother struggled through tears to read a poem written about her son that included the lines: "Great fortune passed him by, but he always came out the winner with a twinkle in his eye.
"He kept his sense of humour, he laughed away the tears and he went on spreading laughter all around all through the years.
"I know I will find him waiting when I join him by his side, likely joking with the angels with that twinkle in his eye."
His brother called him, "A wanderer and a wanderer, a rolling stone who will live for ever".
Reading the poem When You Are Old by WB Yeats, one of Mr Martin's sisters captured the feeling of loss felt by so many in the congregation, and tears rolled down their faces as she spoke.
Pastor Barry Rodgers, from the Derry & Donegal Christian Fellowship, comforted the mourners struggling to deal with the death of the popular musician and asked them not to think of Mr Martin as "a statistic".
He said: "There will be many tears and questions, but we must refuse to accept this as just another statistical tragedy.
"At times like this, we find ourselves with more questions than answers.
"We look out and think, 'What could I have said, what could I have done?'
"I'm sure many of you have had those thoughts in your mind. I want to tell you, there's nothing more you could have said, there's nothing more you could have done. The decisions we make in life can be so poignant in eternity."
Tributes from leading figures in the music industry have poured in all week, and among those who spoke of her sadness at the death of Mr Martin was Derry singer Soak, who attended yesterday's service.
Earlier, she wrote on her Facebook page: "Just heard news of my friend, Stevie Martin, aka Rainy Boy Sleep's passing.
"I remember seeing him play at a festival locally when I was 13 and wishing I could write the songs he was singing. Soon after that we became friends and he came to some of my first shows."
Pastor Rodgers said that in the few months he had known Mr Martin, he realised how important people were to him and how down-to-earth he was.
"Stevie knew that people mattered, he loved his family," he explained. "Some were drawn to his music, but many were drawn to the guy. When the stage was cleared, he was just Stevie."