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Mourners hear tributes at funeral of uncle and nephew Gavin and Mark Scott following drug death

Men had 'wanted to change the world', says relative

By Allan Preston

Published 04/11/2016

Mourners carry the coffins of Gavin and Mark Scott, who died suddenly in Newtownabbey last Friday
Mourners carry the coffins of Gavin and Mark Scott, who died suddenly in Newtownabbey last Friday
Tragedy: Gavin Scott
Tragedy: Mark Scott
The cortege stops at the Hill Tavern pub which is owned by the Scott family,
High-profile loyalist Andre Shoukri (left, centre) at the funeral/

Mourners heard yesterday how the promising futures of a Queen's pharmacy graduate and his accountancy student nephew, who wanted to "change the world", were tragically cut short in a drug-related tragedy.

Gavin and Mark Scott, aged 38 and 24 respectively, were discovered dead last Friday at a house in Hillview Park in Newtownabbey.

Police are not treating the deaths as suspicious, but Rev John Dickinson told more than 500 people at Carnmoney Presbyterian Church yesterday that it seemed "very obvious" the deaths were linked to drugs.

Despite the tragic circumstances, moving tributes were paid by Brooke Scott, Mark's sister and Gavin's niece.

"They both wanted to change the world and they both definitely changed mine for the better," she said.

The congregation heard how Gavin went to Queen's University, worked as a pharmacist and then later in IT. He also had a love of skiing, cooking and classical music.

Mark had been studying to be an accountant and was known for his love of designer clothes and had enjoyed competing in judo and swimming when growing up.

Both had attended Belfast Royal Academy and worked at times in the family-owned Tavern Hill bar in Carnmoney.

"We don't actually know for sure at this point, because medical evidence is not available, as to what it was that made Gavin and Mark die so suddenly last Friday," Rev Dickinson said.

"What we do know, however, is that it seems very obvious from what Lawrence and Heather (Gavin's parents and Mark's grandparents) found when they called at the home that drugs had some part to play in the tragedy that brings us together today."

He said it was understandable the family would feel anger.

"Anger because of wasted lives. Clever, funny and articulate people taken away with their potential largely unrealised," he added.

"We could be angry with the authorities who deal with the menace of drugs among us. In every school, bar and street these things are freely available. I sense people are angry with the drug dealer who supplied drugs. Scumbags, that's how we think about them isn't it? Maybe some of them are here today, I don't know."

He added: "The problem is that most of the guys who do that are addicts themselves in the shadow of the paramilitaries who run the drug trade in this part of the world."

Brooke Scott shared her fond memories of her contrasting brother and uncle.

"Mark introduced me to rap, Gavin introduced me to classical music," she said.

"Gavin would have worn high heels if they were comfy, Mark loved designer clothes. Gavin would build sandcastles and Mark tore them down.

"Gavin cooked masterpieces for dinner, Mark would have lived on burgers for a month when my mum was away.

"Gavin didn't care for presents, Mark opened our presents. They both gave me comfort."

She continued: "Mark grew up with me and Gavin was there to watch us growing up. They both knew everything about anything. They were both hilarious, both smart, both gentlemen. Gavin had the heart of a saint and Mark had the heart of a lion.

"They both wanted to change the world and they both definitely changed mine for the better."

During the service, Belfast-born singer Peter Corry performed a touching rendition of the song Bring Them Home from the musical Les Miserables.

Although he had not known the family before he was approached to sing at the service, he said he was moved by their story.

"The family were on with me earlier, I just thought what a moving and very fitting tribute to two young men," he said.

"The family asked for Bring Them Home, the sentiment was very fitting for that occasion."

Three close friends of the Scott family also read speeches at the service.

Robert Jackson grew up across the road from the Scotts.

"Mark may have had some problems but he had so much love for his family," he said.

"His grandparents called Mark their main man, a jack of all trades. Nothing was a bother to him. Gavin and Mark were amazing friends. The whole family have so many memories to help them through this terrible tragedy. Gavin and Mark will forever be in our hearts and always in our minds."

John McCarron first met Gavin 30 years ago and had worked with him in the Tavern Hill bar.

"Gavin was always a great laugh," he said.

"Years ago I had the opportunity to go to Magaluf water skiiing with him. I remember driving round the island in the boat with Gavin driving at top speed. Gavin for me was truly the hero of the day and always will be."

Lauren Large, Mark's friend of 20 years said: "I always knew Mark as someone who would look after me.

"He taught me so much about life. Mark struggled with his own demons and I don't think he realised how important and loved he was."

Fighting back tears she added: "By the way Mark I will never have a friend like you."

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