Helicopter victim Declan Small was Lord Ballyedmond’s right hand man, mourners hear

Funeral of Declan Small, one of the men killed when a helicopter crashed earlier this month.
Funeral of Declan Small, one of the men killed when a helicopter crashed earlier this month.

Hundreds of mourners yesterday attended the funeral Mass of helicopter victim Declan Small who died along with three others including Newry entrepreneur Lord Ballyedmond earlier this month.

Investigations are continuing into the cause of the crash, which happened close to Edward Haughey’s estate in Norfolk at 7.30pm on March 13.

Among the mourners yesterday was Lady Ballyedmond, whose husband’s funeral will take place today.

During the 1pm service in the Church of Saint Patrick, Mayobridge, Parish Priest Father Charlie Byrne spoke of the 42-year-old’s “love of family, love of life and steadfast faith”.

He said: “We have all experienced an unexpected power cut when the lights go out. Sudden death of a loved one is like that, one minute the sun is shining and everyone is smiling, then without the slightest warning or the chance to prepare ourselves we are plunged into darkness.

“In the space of a moment our whole life is turned upside down.”

Father Byrne added: “We all hope that we ourselves and our loved ones live to old age but this does not always happen.

“When death comes to someone young and under tragic circumstances as Declan’s has, it robs us of not only what we possess but of our hopes and dreams, so many plans, so many expectations can be no more.

“No mother expects to bury her child no matter what the age.”

Father Byrne added that Declan “was highly respected and very well thought of by all who worked with him and often was fondly referred to as Lord Ballyedmond’s right hand man”.

He added: “Declan’s life has been cut short. He has died too suddenly, too soon, but it is a tragedy that has allowed us to see the remarkable impact which Declan has made on those in his life.

“This was evident in the number of people young and old who lined the road in a candle-lit guard of honour for his homecoming on Friday night.”

Mr Small’s remains were interred after the service in the adjoining graveyard.

He will be deeply missed by his mother Margaret, his brothers Micheal, Shane and Anrai, girlfriend Bernie McDonnell and large family circle.

During the offertory service momentos of Mr Small’s life including a statue of Saint Joseph, sporting items and a single yellow rose were brought to the altar.

The funeral of Lord Ballyedmond – Dr Edward Haughey – will take place today in the Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Colman in Newry at 11.30am.

He will be interred afterwards at Saint Briget’s Chapel, Kilcurry, Co Louth.

Lord Ballyedmond will be missed by his wife Mary, children Caroline, Edward and James and grandchildren Alexandra, Victoria and Cosima, son-in-law Mark and extended family circle.

During the funeral service of Declan Small yesterday, Parish priest Father Charlie Byrne prayed for Lord Ballyedmond’s family – and for the families of pilots Carl Dickerson, 36, and 45-year-old Lee Hoyle.

Dr Edward Haughey became Lord Ballyedmond of Mourne when he was made a life peer in 2004.

A leading industrialist, he owned veterinary pharmaceutical firm Norbrook Laboratories in Newry, Co Down, and had a range of other business interests.

As well as being a member of the House of Lords, he was a former member of the Irish senate.