Belfast boy Cillian Draine (11) had a huge appetite for life, mourners told
An 11-year-old boy who died suddenly "brought joy to everyone he met", a priest said.
Mourners gathered at St Therese of Lisieux Church for the funeral of Cillian Draine on Tuesday.
Fr Gary Donegan reflected on the palpable air of concern and support as the boy's grieving family entered the packed chapel.
The schoolboy died at his Salisbury Avenue home in north Belfast on Thursday.
Those gathered on Tuesday heard that the Blessed Trinity College pupil was a talented boxer with the Star Amateur Boxing Club in New Lodge, with many of the boy's club colleagues attending the service in their colours.
Fr Donegan reflected on a young boy "gifted with a cheeky smile", who had many creative and sporting talents and a "vivacious appetite" for life.
"There were never enough hours in the day for Cillian to do everything he wanted to do. Life was there for him to be enjoyed," the priest said.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
"To say Cillian was into everything was an understatement. He was creative and inquisitive, with a big passion and commitment to sport.
"He also loved to be in the kitchen, cooking and baking and experimenting."
While Cillian had only been at Blessed Trinity College for several months, Fr Donegan explained he had made "many deep friendships".
"He recently became a pupil at Blessed Trinity. Even in the course of a few short months he already made his mark," he said.
"If there was a club to be joined, Cillian would say 'I'm in'. Basketball, Gaelic football, hurling - all received his total commitment.
"His encouragement and leadership qualities shone brightly.
"Recently, when the year eight Gaelic football team were travelling to play Hightown, Cillian said to the entire team: 'We can do this, we are going to do this, we are going to beat Hightown'. With sheer determination they did just that."
Fr Donegan finished with a powerful message to the many young people at the service.
He called on them to never be afraid "to show they cared", taking example from Cillian's reputation for helping those who were being bullied.
"Cillian wasn't scared to show that he cared. What a wonderful legacy for anyone to leave behind, even if it was such a short life," he said.
"For his friends - don't be scared to show that you care. Don't be scared to speak about Cillian to one another and to share the wonderful stories and memories of this special boy.
"Don't be afraid and embarrassed about sharing tears when you tell his stories to each other and don't be afraid to ask for help when you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with things.
"If you want to honour your little friend, reach out and grab the opportunity that comes every single day of your life."
After Requiem Mass the funeral proceeded to Roselawn Crematorium.
Cillian is survived by his parents Mary and Mick and brothers Fiontan and Michael.