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Wednesday 20 November 2019

'Gorgeous, spirited, lovable' - tributes at funeral of Devin (7)

Distraught mourners carry the coffin of tragic Devin Crosby Shepherd. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Distraught mourners carry the coffin of tragic Devin Crosby Shepherd. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Grieving loved ones of a "gorgeous" seven-year-old boy who died in a tragic road accident last weekend wore blue T-shirts in his memory as he was laid to rest yesterday.

Devin Crosby Shepherd died last Sunday on All-Ireland football final day after he was involved in an accident with a road sweeper on St Joseph's Way, Ballymun, north Dublin.

Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects to Devin, whose body was carried into the Church of St Philip the Apostle in Mountview, Dublin 15, in a small white coffin.

Classmates from Scoil Mhuire Junior School in Blakestown, Dublin 15, some in tears, provided a touching guard of honour, each carrying a letter spelling out the words: "We Love You Devin."

Happiness

Devin's parents, Geraldine and Andy, and siblings, Yasmin, John Patrick and Jamie, were comforted by relatives, friends and members of the community.

A tribute to Devin (7) close to the scene of the accident
A tribute to Devin (7) close to the scene of the accident

Everyone wore bright colours in memory of the child remembered fondly for his spirited, gregarious nature.

School friends brought gifts to the altar, including a school bag and a school photo.

Mourners applauded the children as they walked to the altar.

Fr James Kelly, who baptised Devin, told mourners that when the boy and his classmates started at school he "remembered how much fun and happiness Devin brought to our everyday lives".

"When we celebrate a funeral mass and when a child dies, it's most definitely never easy, and when a child dies because of an accident, it's most certainly, never easy," Fr Kelly added.

"So we are all in this together... we understand. I feel your pain, you feel my pain.

"How can this happen, what can we do?

"But there's something in ourselves that brought us to celebrate this mass for a child, just seven years of age, about to prepare in Scoil Mhuire to celebrate his Holy Communion.

"Most of us have had that day and we can remember.

"As Ger [Devin's mother] was saying to me the other day, Devin was getting so excited about it [his Holy Communion] and about his new class and teachers and preparing for his Communion.

"It's very hard when we are going through this, it's very dark, it doesn't seem so colourful.

"I remember reading the funeral notice and the request to come and wear colours, but it's very hard to see those colours, when your heart is heavy.

"I was in Devin's house two days ago and... I was welcomed. Each person here is saying, 'We support you in your sorrow.'

"We're here, we only have one another.

"We are recognising our friends, our relations, our sister, our brother, our classmates, we are recognising the humanity that is there. Let's continue to support one another… all I can do on behalf of Devin's family is say thank you very much."

Many mourners wept as Sarah McLachlan's In The Arms Of An Angel was played out across the church.

One woman, who at times broke down, shared some cherished family memories of the schoolboy, who had seemed to display a spirited, lovable and comedic side from a very early age.

She told how Devin had referred to tap water as "council juice" and he'd been admitted to Temple Street Hospital once after a "fight" with his beloved dog over who would get the last bite of a hotdog.

Friendly

A letter from a school friend was also read out describing Devin as a friendly, fun little boy, who had been "gorgeous".

Following the accident last Sunday, Devin was rushed to Temple Street Children's Hospital, where he was in a very serious condition for some time before losing his battle for life.

The Health and Safety Authority confirmed it had been made aware of the incident and it was investigating.

A garda investigation is also under way.

Following his funeral yesterday, Devin was laid to rest at Mulhuddart Cemetery.

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