Belfast Telegraph

Hundreds turn out for funeral of third brother Stephen Ferrin lost to suicide

By Claire McNeilly

Hundreds of mourners turned out yesterday to say a last goodbye at the funeral of the third of three north Belfast brothers who took their own lives.

Stephen Ferrin (31), a father-of-one, was discovered dead at his home at Oldpark Road on Sunday - just days after being discharged from hospital.

Family and friends gathered together to support one another through their grief at requiem mass, which was held at Sacred Heart Church, followed by burial in Carnmoney Cemetery.

It is the fourth tragedy to hit the wider Ferrin family, as two of Stephen's brothers - Kieran (24) and 19-year-old Niall - died by suicide, as did his cousin Christopher, who was also 19.

Distraught mourners wiped away tears while walking behind Stephen's coffin during the funeral procession.

On a dark, damp morning, bouquets of multi-coloured flowers sat brightly on the roof of the grey hearse as it made its way from the family home to the church before mass, with people lining the street.

A blue and while floral arrangement on the left hand side at the top of the Mercedes car spelt out the word 'Mate', while in the window beneath it another blossom tribute read 'Bro', and other in the back of the vehicle said 'Son'.

After the ceremony, which was officiated by Fr Darach Mac Giolla Cathain, people braved the rain to walk behind the coffin, which was bedecked with a mixture of white roses and lilies.

Earlier this week Stephen's parents, Patricia and Eddie, said he was "a handsome, bubbly and witty young man" who would be deeply missed by "lots and lots of friends" and everyone else who loved him.

"Stephen is a father, a brother and a son who is cherished and deeply loved and he will be sadly missed by all his friends and family," they said.

"His death is devastating to us, to his friends and to the whole community and we would like to bury him with dignity and the respect he deserves."

Stephen is survived by his mother and father, sisters Danielle and Seaneen, daughter Sophie and wider family circle.

It is understood that, in recent years, Stephen lost at least five close friends to suicide, as well as his two brothers and their cousin.

His brother Kieran Ferrin, who was in his early 20s, was beaten unconscious and left with facial injuries in a sectarian attack in Ardoyne five months before he took his own life in February 2014.

Three years previously, in 2011, his 19-year-old brother, Niall, also took his own life, having also been the victim of a brutal sectarian attack at the age of 15.

He was beaten unconscious with a golf club at Cliftonpark Avenue by a loyalist gang.

The family were also dealt a brutal blow in 2010 when their cousin, Christopher Scott-Ferrin, took his own life after he ran in tears from the Mater Hospital A&E unit.

Despite the promise of an urgent assessment, the traumatised teenager left the hospital after more than eight hours without help and took his own life in an east Belfast park five days later.

  • If you or anyone you know is in distress contact the Samaritans in confidence on 0845 790 9090 or Lifeline on 080 8808 8000.

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