Michael Cullen's friend in poetic tribute as family and friends say final sad farewell
A young man found dead at a Belfast beauty spot was a kind and loving person, mourners at his funeral heard.
The body of Michael Cullen was recovered from Cave Hill Country Park last Wednesday following a high-profile search backed by well-known figures including boxer Carl Frampton and actor Sir Kenneth Branagh.
Michael’s family had launched a huge appeal to find the Ulster University employee, who was last in contact with loved ones on January 9.
From the North Circular Road in north Belfast, the 33-year-old was an established beatboxer who had performed before audiences in Ireland and the UK.
Yesterday hundreds of mourners packed Sacred Heart Church in Belfast to pay their final respects.
Fr Gerard Cassidy, who led the service, said the Cullen family wished to thank the Community Rescue Service, the PSNI, the media and all those who helped in the search for Michael.
He read out some memories of Michael, who was known as ‘Cull’, from his mother Rosemarie. The priest said: “He took his role as oldest brother and son very seriously, giving good advice to his mammy and daddy, sister and brothers. He was a very good judge of character and very wise and honest.”
Fr Cassidy added: “He loved beatboxing and singing and got great pleasure from his performances.
“Michael was a most kind, polite, sensitive and loving young man to his family, friends and strangers. He is at peace now and is waiting to beatbox for us in the next world and we will see him soon.”
The priest said Michael was “happy and enthusiastic about life, a deep thinker”. He added: “Michael died in the late spring of his life.”
He added that friends and family were shocked that Michael was struggling with deep depression, as it was the opposite of his normal happy and joyful personality.
He said: “Michael is now at peace.
“Whatever was troubling him, he is now away from that.
“Michael was deeply loved and appreciated by his family and all his friends.
“His music, acting, his running, gave him pleasure and to all who knew him.”
Michael’s friend Niall Mellan recited a poem at the end of the service, referencing Michael’s love for beatboxing and rap music.
He said: “You have decided to move on, to ease the tiredness and the pain. Rest assured, you filled us all with so much joy. Our lives will never be the same.
“But we will see each other again my brother. We will pick up where we left off. This gap will again be filled, you are a flame and I am a moth.
“You do the beat man and I will do the scratch. The Girvan brothers will spit rhymes, like old times, we will have a freestyle match.
“We will sink a couple of whiskeys, listen to Tupac in our B-boy stance. We will bust out the robot, this unbreakable bromance.
“Band of brothers from the beginning, band of brothers to the end. Can’t wait for our next hug man, only then will my heart mend.
“We are jealous of the angels, but your legacy will never stop. Know that we all love you Cull, that’s us for now. Mic drop.”
The PSNI and Community Rescue Service carried out extensive searches involving a helicopter, drones and police dogs to find Michael’s body.
Nearly 9,000 people had joined the family’s Facebook group called Help Find Michael Cullen.
In a post when his body was found, his family said: “I can only hope he will look down on us and see the huge amount of love we all had for him.
“The Cullen family wish to thank everyone for their valiant efforts in trying to bring Michael home... we will never forget this!”