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Tears flow as popular teen John Irwin who died after collapsing at school is laid to rest

By Staff Reporter

Published 18/04/2016

Classmates of John Irwin weep at his funeral
Classmates of John Irwin weep at his funeral
Friends and relatives at the funeral of John Irwin at St John’s Parish Church, Middletown, Co Armagh
Friends and relatives at the funeral of John Irwin at St John’s Parish Church, Middletown, Co Armagh
John Irwin

Friends of a teenage schoolboy wept openly as their classmate was laid to rest after collapsing in class.

John Irwin, a pupil at City of Armagh High School, died in hospital last Wednesday, just days after celebrating his 16th birthday.

On Saturday hundreds gathered at St John's Church of Ireland in Middletown, Co Armagh, to pay their last respects to the popular teenager.

City of Armagh High pupils wearing the school's distinctive maroon and white uniform bowed their heads outside the church as they formed a guard of honour for their friend's final journey.

Staff from the school also attended, as well as political representatives.

The school has held special assemblies for the Year 12 pupil to help his classmates come to terms with the sudden loss.

His principal David Livingstone described John - a prefect in the school - as a popular young man held in the highest regard by teachers and his fellow pupils.

"John's outstanding good nature and determination will always be remembered in City of Armagh High School," he said.

"The staff and pupils in City of Armagh High School have experienced shock and disbelief as they come to terms with the passing of John.

"The Irwin family has a long association with City of Armagh High School and John's mother Diane is a member of the Board of Governors.

"Our hearts go out to her, John's father Keith, sisters Ruth and Rachel, brothers James and William and the entire family circle."

The Armagh school was hit by a double tragedy last week following the death of its former head girl Lesley-Ann McCarragher in a hit-and-run collision near her home.

The 19-year-old died in the Royal Victoria Hospital after being hit by a vehicle while she was out running on the Monaghan Road near Milford in Co Armagh.

A 17-year-old male has been charged with a number of motoring offences, including causing death by dangerous driving, failing to stop, failing to report an accident, and driving without a licence and insurance.

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