The parents of a Co Down teenager killed after being hit by a van outside his home have spoken of the strength they feel from the cross-community support they have received since his death six weeks ago.
Paying tribute to him publicly for the first time since their 14-year-old son died, Mervyn and Felicity Colgan said Mark is “desperately missed” by the family.
The St Colman’s College pupil was just yards from his home on the Scarva Road, Banbridge, when he was hit by the vehicle at 8am on March 20.
His parents, in a statement to the Banbridge Leader, said the support they had received since Mark’s death had given them the strength to cope.
“The esteem in which he and the family are held was evident by the large turnout at his wake and funeral,” read the statement.
“People of all faiths came to sympathise, sent cards and attended the Month’s Mind mass (a requiem taking place about a month after death), and their support has been a source of strength to the family.”
During Mark’s funeral mass, parish priest the Very Rev Colum Wright hailed Mark’s parents who, during the wake, had embraced the driver of the van involved in the accident.
He described how he saw Felicity, Mervyn and the van driver “hugging each other, supporting each other, holding each other up, giving each other strength, crying together, smiling together, praying together and assuring each other that it was all an accident and that no one was to blame”.
“It was the nearest thing to a scene from the gospel that I have ever witnessed, because it imitated all the teachings and the love of Jesus.”
Mark’s parents have described their son as a sociable, entertaining and popular young boy who had enjoyed sports of all kinds, and was happiest spending time with his family.