Teenager had a ‘bright future cut short’

By Michael McHugh, Press Association

Lauren Bullock had a bright future cut tragically short, mourners at her funeral were told.

She possessed a zest for living and loved people, a priest said.

Hundreds of young friends dabbed back tears as they bade the 17-year-old farewell at St Patrick’s Church in the Co Tyrone village of Donaghmore.

A mass booklet from a memorial service in memory of Lauren Bullock rests with floral tributes at the entrance of The Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown (Liam McBurney/PA)

Her coffin was pink and white, with flowers painted on the side.

Catholic priest Fr David Moore said she loved to get dressed up, have her nails done, and have her hair just right.

He remarked: “Lauren has had too short a time on this earth, but for her 17 years of life she has certainly achieved a lot, she used her time well and wisely.”

He added: “She had a bright future in front of her and we know she still had so much more to contribute to our community.”

He recalled the horror of the St Patrick’s Day tragedy in which three died outside a disco.

“For many decades to come, Saint Patrick’s Day 2019 will be called to mind as the awful day when three beautiful young people, all in the prime of their lives, were overpowered, literally in the mad rush of our modern world, and needlessly lost their lives.

“On Sunday night, and during the early hours of Monday, a dark and threatening cloud hung over all of us, as we struggled to understand and come to terms with the tragic turn of events on what ought to have been a night of fun, dance, friendship and laughter.”

The chief mourners were Lauren’s parents, Martin and Mary; brothers, Shane and Ryan; and her grandparents, Martin, Ann-Marie and Joe.

Members of the Euphoria Allstar Cheerleading NI form a guard of honour (Liam McBurney/PA)

It was a young person’s death, a funeral in which young people played a part in the service and youths appeared to outnumber adults.

One girl clutched a pamphlet with Lauren’s picture on it and dabbed her eyes with a tissue.

The photograph featured the girl with her dog.

Fr Moore said: “Benji the dog arrived three years ago into the family home as Lauren’s dog and he was absolute gold dust, her pride and joy.”

He said her real passion was cheerleading, with the Euphoria Cheerleading group.

Members of the club helped form a guard of honour of young people which stretched from the church doors far into the street and past the stone Celtic cross which dominated the hilltop in the village.

Fr David Moore said her many friends described her as having a “warm and bubbly” personality with a very infectious smile (Liam McBurney/PA).

Fr Moore said her many friends described her as having a “warm and bubbly” personality with a very infectious smile.

She was involved in football and the Scouts.

The priest added: “She had such a positive outlook on life and a real zest for living.

“Lauren loved people as much as they loved her and was a real socialite with lots of friends and people who admired and looked up to her.”

He said Lauren was getting on well at Saint Patrick’s College in Dungannon, and her teachers there could attest to how eager and very able a student she was.

Fr Moore concluded: “For your little family, this is one of the hardest journeys of your life. It is too raw to think too far ahead.

“One day at a time is the only advice we can offer you.

“Those who leave us in death, leave their footprint on our hearts.”