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Heartbreaking final farewell at funeral of little Bronagh Kinney (7) who was struck down with meningitis

By Cate McCurry

Mourners at the funeral of a seven-year-old girl who died after contracting meningitis heard how her "big beaming smile" will be missed by everyone who knew her.

Bronagh Kinney from Cushendall, Co Antrim, died in her mother's arms at the Royal Victoria Hospital on Monday morning days after she fell ill.

Bronagh was a P4 pupil at Glenann Primary School.

The popular schoolgirl was rushed to hospital last week after she was struck down with the disease.

Her parents, Shane and Gina, and four siblings, Michael, Clodagh, Liam and Niall, have all been left heartbroken by her sudden death.

Over 800 mourners attended her funeral at St Mary's Church in Cushendall yesterday.

The youngster was carried in a simple white coffin into the packed church as her family and friends gathered to say their final goodbye.

Some of her heartbroken school friends also attended the funeral.

Speaking at her funeral, parish priest Fr Luke McWilliams told mourners that she brought a smile to everyone's face.

"Bronagh was a very popular little girl and others were keen to spend time in her company," he said.

"She was a very generous child and never gave a second thought to offering her last sweet to others.

"She loved her school and all her friends and she adored her teacher, Miss McDonnell.

"Bronagh was intelligent and witty and giggly and always had a big beaming smile on her face. She was a real character and will be sorely missed by so many."

Fr McWilliams also expressed his sympathy to her parents and added that the support from the community has helped the grieving family.

He added: "Shane and Gina have been very courageous and very strong for their other children."

Some of Bronagh's siblings read prayers of the faithful during the funeral service.

Her brothers and sister also brought a number of gifts representing the schoolgirl to the altar, including her teddy bears, her great-grandmother's Holy Cross, a school diary and her Irish dancing shoes.

Bronagh was a keen sports girl and was part of the under-eight team for the Cushendall Camogie Club who said they were "saddened" to hear of her passing.

The little girl was also junior member of the Glen Youth Club which was among the many groups who expressed their shock and sadness at her tragic death.

She was a talented Irish dancer and had been part of the Lir School of Irish Dancing for some 18 months.

She is survived by her parents Shane and Gina, and siblings Michael, Clodagh, Liam and Niall.

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