Family stunned by death of young footballer at 28... then just days later his granny passes away too
A heartbroken family devastated by the deaths of a young footballer and his grandmother just days apart have said they are overwhelmed with grief.
Craig Faulkner (28) died suddenly on July 8, four days before his grandmother Agnes Norton (78), who lost her battle with lung cancer on July 11.
Mrs Norton's death also came exactly 10 years to the day after Craig's older brother Darryl died.
A talented footballer and striker for Ballysillan Swifts, Craig was also a volunteer at Ballysillan Youth for Christ.
He was a former pupil of the Boys Model and was working for BOC Gas as a production operative.
His sister Courtney said the family have been numbed with grief by the double tragedy.
"We've all cried so much, I feel like I've cried myself out, like I can't cry any more," she said.
"We are all heartbroken, just absolutely devastated. I don't think any of us have got our head around the shock of it, or ever will."
Craig is survived by his parents Alison and Albert (both 53) and sister Courtney (23).
Mrs Norton leaves husband Harry (83), son Harold and daughter Alison behind.
Services will take place today and tomorrow for them.
Well known throughout north Belfast, Craig was remembered as "happy go lucky, witty and caring."
"Craig was really funny," added Courtney. "Everybody loved him because he was friendly and so witty and he had a big heart - he'd do anything for anyone.
"He loved banter and was always joking and he had this laugh, then the dimple on his cheek would appear."
A life-long Manchester United and Northern Ireland supporter, Craig watched all the matches and "lived and breathed football."
"People will remember him doing 'The Worm' on the pitch and getting covered in mud and his particular "shotgun" move he would do where he'd lie on the grass like he had been shot. It used to make everyone laugh," said Courtney. "And he loved socialising, he had a lot of friends who he went out with, and the ladies liked him too.
"He was very outgoing, cocky at times, but he knew how to have a good time, he was one of those people who lit up the room."
Courtney said her brother and herself, who "were very close", were the only grandchildren of Mr and Mrs Norton.
"I would tell him everything and he would tell me everything too - we were like best friends.
"We used to have picnics in the living room as kids and we'd play our parents up, but we always stuck together," she said.
"And we loved our grandparents, we're from a very close-knit family.
"We're all devastated, Craig and granny were just the best people you could ever have met."
A service for Craig will be held today from the family home on Silverstream Drive at 1.30am before a cremation at Roselawn at 3.30pm.
Mrs Norton will be cremated at Roselawn tomorrow at 10.30am.