28 Nov 2021

Thomas Burke’s funeral hears of ‘true gentleman’ who loved his family dearly

Many tributes being paid to popular young Derry man who has died suddenly

Many tributes have been paid to Thomas Burke who passed away this week.

Thomas Burke was a ‘true gentleman’ who loved his family dearly and reached out to the most vulnerable in society, a priest has told mourners this morning.

The Requiem Mass in memory of Thomas Burke took place at St. Mary’s Church in Creggan at 10am.

Members of Trojans Football Club formed a guard of honour for Thomas and his family near the church entrance.

Due to the current coronavirus restrictions, the funeral service was held in private with only close family members in attendance.

The service could however be viewed online via the church webcam.

The 29-year-old died suddenly on April 23. 

He is the beloved husband of Bronagh, loving father of Adam and Aoife, dear son of Thomas and Linda of Carrickreagh Gardens, much loved brother of Rachel, son-in-law of Siobhan and the late Packie Deehan and a very dear nephew and friend.

In his homily at the Devine Mercy Chapel in St Mary’s Church Rev Daniel McFaul described Thomas as a ‘true gentleman’, a ‘beautiful’ and ‘fun loving person’.

He said Thomas and his wife Bronagh have been together since they were 14 years of age, they were ‘joint at the hip’ and she was the ‘love of his life’ along with his children.

Father McFaul said the 29-year-old was respected by everyone and reached out to the most vulnerable in society.  His faith was ‘lived out in his goodness to everyone he met’.

For a man of 29 ‘he was beyond his years’, he added, and even the current COVID restrictions couldn’t stop the overwhelming expressions of sadness and goodwill from people in the community.

His job involved working with people who have learning disabilities and he sought to increase their independence.  Thomas ‘wouldn’t have been behind the door in challenging discrimination’ against people with disabilities, Father McFaul told close family and friends gathered.

“Thomas was a community man, always doing a good turn who reached out to those in need.  He lived every breath for his mother, father, sister, wife and children.

“He lived for Adam and Aoife and loved playing with them.  He was an incredible daddy.

“The support the wains gave you on that day was outstanding, they are your heroes.”

The Creggan priest said Thomas was a Trojan's man to the core who made his debut in 1998 and became a coach of the under 6 teams later in life. 

He loved football and all sport, and also passing on knowledge to the young children who ‘idolised him’.  “He loved his work and gave it 100%.”

It is a ‘tremendously difficult day’ for Thomas’s family and friends, Father McFaul said, ‘but I promise you just as Jesus walked with Martha and Mary, he now walks with you’.

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