herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Dad's loving tribute to 'caring' Olivia who 'just loved to boogie'

funeral

Olivia Burke's mother Paula and father Paul at the funeral of Olivia Burke, one of the victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock in Dublin.
Olivia Burke's mother Paula and father Paul at the funeral of Olivia Burke, one of the victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock in Dublin.
Friends grieve at the funeral of Olivia Burke, one of the victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock in Dublin
Olivia Burke's mother, Paula is consoled at the funeral of Olivia Burke, one of the victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock in Dublin
The funeral of Olivia Burke, one of the victims of the Berkeley balcony tragedy, at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock in Dublin this morning
Olivia Burke
Parents Paula and Paul Burke and brother Gavin at Olivia's funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock.

OLIVIA Burke "always had a smile", friends and family at the funeral of the Berkeley tragedy victim were told.

Olivia's parents Paul and Paula and her brother Gavin were the chief mourners at the service, along with the grieving parents of Olivia's cousin Ashley Donohoe, who also lost her life in the accident.

The service was also attended by the Walsh family whose daughter Eimear's funeral was held there the day before.

Award-winning singer Hozier sang the final hymn at the moving ceremony which saw hundreds of people come together to pay their respects to the popular student.

eulogy

Local parish priest Fr Frank Herron led proceedings as mourners gathered at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.

Her devastated dad paid tribute to his only daughter who "always had a smile" in a beautiful eulogy which painted a picture of an adventurous and hardworking young woman.

"She packed a lot into her short 21 years, in work experience, travel and friendships," he told the congregation.

Mr Burke recalled his daughter's love of the lighter side of life that she coupled with a work ethic that he said he had always found admirable.

She was "caring, considerate, more worried about your problems than chatting about her own, although she did love to chat," he told the congregation.

The grieving dad drew a laugh when he mentioned his daughter's fondness for a "boogie" on the dance floor.

"Not being able to see where Olivia's potential journey would have taken her will certainly cause heartache in time to come," he said.

His daughter had been enjoying her time in the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design, where she was studying entrepreneurship and management, he said.

Before departing for the US she had confided in him that she was really looking forward to her final year and was determined to secure good results.

She was anxious about her grade following a work experience stint in East Coast FM.

Her dad addressed her many groups of friends that were present in the church - some she had known since childhood and others she met in college.

"They had a close-knit group and they enjoyed some great times," he said.

"This close-knit group travelled to Vancouver after their first year of college and some undertook Thailand/Vietnam in second year, which us parents dreaded but they came home in pretty good nick."

Mr Burke also paid tribute to his niece Ashley Donohoe.

The pair were "cousins and soulmates" he said, as he read a verse that had also been read out at Ashley's funeral in the US.

Despite the distance they were incredibly close, he said.

Gifts presented to commemorate Olivia included symbols of her love for fashion and her time in secondary school.

A Loreto College journal, a photo of Olivia and her dog, a King Charles Spaniel called Skipper, were left at the altar.

The gifts also included a Ted Baker bag and a throw that was given to Olivia for her 21st birthday, printed with photographs.

Applause met the grieving dad's final words as he told his "darling" to rest in peace.

Following his moving speech, Hozier performed the final piece of music in the service, his single The Work Song played out as the funeral drew to a close.

Rapturous applause filled the church which has been open every day until midnight since news of the balcony collapse reached the close knit community.

Outside the church, a newly-planted tree is decorated with ribbons to commemorate the students who died.

Service

During the service those present were asked to pray for the six young people who died and the remaining students who are still recovering in hospital.

Mr Burke gave a special mention to the family of Aoife Beary whose birthday the group were celebrating. She was one of Olivia's friends from her days in Loreto College.

The sudden death of the two former Loreto College students, Eimear and Olivia, had galvanised the community Fr Herron said.

"This week our community of Foxrock has reached out to each other probably as never before," he said.

The funeral service of Lorcan Miller will take place today - he is the final student to be laid to rest following the accident.

The medical student will arrive at the Rathmichael Parish Church in Shankhill at 11am.

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