Belfast mum Hollie McCutcheon bullies should be ashamed, funeral told
The school bullies whose nasty words ultimately led to the death of a young Belfast mum who suffered a heart attack on Saturday "should be ashamed of themselves", a clergyman has said.
Hundreds of mourners gathered in St Matthew's Parish on the Shankill Road to say goodbye to Hollie McCutcheon (27) yesterday, including her seven-year-old son Nathan and partner Chris.
Rev Campbell Dixon praised the loving family of the former Girls Model pupil, including her heartbroken parents Janet and Leslie, for the support they provided right up until Hollie lost her battle with eating disorders.
"Hollie was a tall girl with a solid physique who was subjected to bullying at school," he said.
"This led to her being hospitalised for anorexia and bulimia, but her mum, dad, brother Andrew and sister Hannah were her constant champions.
"Sadly on Saturday morning her heart couldn't take any more.
"The damage caused over so many years took its toll and she slipped away."
The clergyman said the middle child had enjoyed a happy life until she started secondary school where she encountered those "who caused her death far too early".
"Did those who made Hollie's life a misery as she entered her teenage years ever give one thought about what their nastiness would do to a well-balanced and happy child?" he asked.
"They should be ashamed of themselves."
Rev Dixon also had strong words for the person who started a rumour on social media falsely claiming that Hollie had taken her own life.
"Shame on you," he told them.
The clergyman then rubbished an old rhyme as he warned the congregation that calling someone names can hurt more than sticks and stones ever could.
"Words can cause terrible pain and bring about untold suffering," he added.
He told mourners Hollie managed to complete her GCSEs after being released from the Donard Unit of Knockbracken Healthcare Park before starting her first job in Costa Coffee. She then moved on to work for Value Cabs where romance blossomed when she met Sean. "The pair were overjoyed when Nathan was born a few years later," Rev Dixon said. "But Hollie never stopped fighting her demons. Her and Sean later broke up, but Nathan was the best thing that ever happened to her and he became a source of encouragement whenever her illness was too much to bear.
"Janet believes he was a wee Godsend because Nathan gave her something to live for."
The clergyman said Sean continued to be a huge source of support even after Hollie met her partner Chris, who doted on her.
Hollie's sister Hannah previously said the "very, very close" couple did everything together.
Those gathered in the church were told Hollie only "found her niche in life" two years ago when she started working as a carer.
"Hollie really loved her work and made great friends through it.
"She was a fun girl despite her debilitating illness and by all accounts she was the life and soul of the party who loved dancing and singing," Rev Dixon said.
This was evident from the slideshow of pictures which played throughout the service.
"But it was a tragic life in many ways," the clergyman continued.
"Here was a larger-than-life character who loved people, socialising, working and caring for those who needed help - but despite all appearances she was brought down into the depths of despair."
Dozens of Hollie's colleagues from Quality Care Services formed a guard of honour outside the church as her coffin was carried away. On the casket was a note from little Nathan who sobbed uncontrollably while following behind. "To Mummy, I love and miss you xxx," it read.
Loved ones tried desperately to console the youngster as his mum embarked on her final journey to Roselawn Crematorium.