Belfast Telegraph

JP Smyth 'a kind-hearted boy who always smiled', mourners told

The funeral of John Paul Smyth (15) at St Patrick’s Church, Keady
The funeral of John Paul Smyth (15) at St Patrick’s Church, Keady
John Paul Smyth

By Christopher Leebody

A teenager who died in a tragic drowning accident "was always smiling", a priest said.

Family and friends of John Paul Smyth gathered at St Patrick's Church in Keady, as he was laid to rest on Wednesday.

A popular year 12 pupil at St Paul's High School, the 15-year-old's body was led into the church past a guard of honour by his school friends.

The teenager, known as JP, went missing on New Year's Eve in Warrenpoint with his body recovered on Saturday after a five-day search.

Speaking to mourners on Wednesday, Fr Seamus White reflected on the image of a "kind-hearted" boy, who had many creative interests and passions.

"JP was also described as a very 'mellow fella' by one of his friends. His friends also said he was great fun," Fr White said.

"He was a great cook and he recently won the Skillbuild Award in Southern Regional College.

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"He was sent on work experience to The Shelbourne one day a week and he excelled himself there.

"He was very highly regarded by the staff and customers alike and they too are very shocked and saddened by his death.

"JP loved nature and enjoyed being outside. He had a great interest in planes and cars. He was really keen on music.

"He would listen to anything, but one of his favourite songs was Mr Brightside by The Killers and you would always hear him singing that song. No matter where JP went, you would hear him before you saw him, as he would always have his speaker blasting from his backpack."

The priest also described the teenager as someone with very good manners, with the adults in his life referring to him as "the gentlest soul".

"If any of his friends were down, his favourite quote was: 'Live for today. Tomorrow's never promised'," Fr White added.

John Paul Smyth was buried in the adjoining cemetery. He is survived by his parents Gerard and Adele and siblings Jamie-Lee, Katie-Rose, Lacole, J.J, Darren and Leon.

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