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Family's anguish as funeral held for drug death student Jamie

By Allan Preston

Published 26/11/2016

Family and friends of Jamie Burns walk behind his coffin
Family and friends of Jamie Burns walk behind his coffin
Jamie Burns at Mandela Hall in Queen’s Students’ Union on Saturday

The heartbroken family of a young man who died after taking drugs have said an emotional farewell to him.

Jamie Burns (23) from north Belfast passed away after collapsing in Queen’s Students’ Union last Sunday.

Mr Burns — a student at Northern Regional College in Newtownabbey — had been out with friends when the tragedy occurred.

His father William said his son had taken a tablet, believed to have been ecstasy.

The PSNI is investigating the circumstances.

The death is one of several drug-related ones in the past month. Darren Taylor (39) and Amy Reid (21)  died weeks apart in the same block of flats in Coagh.

Yesterday a service was held in the Burns family home off the Shore Road, before cremation at Roselawn.

A big fan of Liverpool FC, mourners followed Jamie’s coffin, which was painted in the team’s red colours and featured the club’s motto ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

While waiting for the funeral service to begin, his father wrote of his disbelief on Facebook. “Today my only son leaves the only home he’s ever known for the last time.

“Such a waste of a young life,” he wrote.

“I’m sitting here beside my son in his coffin looking at him and I still can’t believe he’s dead.

“I still expect to hear him getting ready for work. Singing because it is Friday and it’s his last day.

“He would be late home tonight because he would be going to the barber to get his hair cut and beard trimmed. Instead, it’s silence.”

His older sister Gemma said yesterday was “the worst day of my life”.

“How does anyone say goodbye to their baby brother?” she said. “The laughs we shared and the memories we have will stay with me forever.

“Not many people can say that their brother was their best friend, but we really were. There won’t be a day I don’t think about you wee man. Love you, forever and a day wee man.”

His other sister Courtney posted a picture with her brother saying: “Rest in peace Jamie, you will never be forgotten.”

Mr Burns added a warning to young people, saying they were gambling with their lives every time they dabbled in drugs.

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