River victim Connor Murray was an 'inspiration' to his friends and family
A young man who died after an accident in Larne was someone who "inspired and gave love", his funeral heard yesterday.
Connor Murray (23) passed away last Wednesday, six days after falling into a fast-flowing river the previous Friday.
Family and friends gathered to say a final farewell at a service at Ballycraigy Methodist Church in Larne, and later at Roselawn crematorium in Belfast.
The former Larne Grammar pupil, described as "a Larne man through and through", had been walking along the Inver River with friends when a "daredevil stunt" went wrong.
Despite desperate attempts to save him, the current was too strong.
Connor's friends pulled him from the water some distance from the scene of the accident, but he died in hospital.
There was further anguish for the family when Connor's sister, Lauren, discovered she had lost her unborn baby just hours before her brother died.
Connor's mum, Barbara, told the Belfast Telegraph last week that the family was going through a "living hell" and said her son was looking forward to welcoming his sister's child into the world.
"He was so excited about becoming an uncle again," she added.
The funeral was organised to allow family members living around the world enough time to travel home to take part.
Posting on Facebook yesterday morning ahead of the funeral service, Connor's mum paid tribute to him.
"Well son, the day I have been dreading this past week is here. I have to say goodbye to the physical you," she wrote.
"The body that I nurtured for nine months and lovingly cared for as you grew, is just the vessel in which you lived your crazy life.
"It was a strong body which withstood everything you threw at it. Your gorgeous soul left us last week after you fought so hard to stay with us.
"It was an honour to spend your last days with you and say all the stuff I had wanted to say when you were here but you'd have been embarrassed about.
"Thank you for being my son and my protector. I love you for ever, Connor."
Reverend Chris Skillen spoke about Connor's fight for life in intensive care.
"We saw such love poured out on Connor," he said.
"We saw all of his family and his closest friends willing him to live with all their hearts and with all their strength.
"They were ready to fight to give Connor every chance, but in the end it was Connor who decided.
"Nobody was faced with any heartbreaking decisions.
"Everything was done to try and save Connor's life, but in the end he just went quietly and peacefully.
"I know how much his loved ones thank him that Connor took the situation out of human hands.
"At the river too, Jamie and Josh (Connor's friends) and the emergency services did everything that could humanly be done.
"It's only natural that we re-play the situation and think 'what if?'
"But in reality, everyone dealt with that situation to the very best of their ability, and no one could ask any more of anyone than what they did on the day. Connor knows what all of you did.
"There will be people wishing they had said something to Connor. Don't be full of regrets."