The south Armagh village of Bessbrook came to a standstill yesterday for the funeral of tragic pensioner Oswald Bradley who lost his life in Bessbrook Pond on Monday.
Around 800 mourners followed the cortege from Mr Bradley’s Main Street home in the village, past Bessbrook Pond and through the village where hundreds more townsfolk stopped in silent reverence for the man said to be “the life and soul of the village”.
Among the mourners were Newry and Armagh UUP MLA Danny Kennedy, SDLP Councillor for Bessbrook John Feighan and UUP Councillor Andy Moffett.
Bessbrook indoor bowling club formed a guard of honour at Mr Bradley’s home as his coffin was taken out and at Bessbrook Presbyterian churchyard.
A local man said among the mourners were “a large influx of Bessbrook exiles who have moved to other parts of the Province”.
He said Mr Bradley’s funeral was “the biggest turnout since the Kingmills funerals in 1976”.
He added: “Bessbrook people turned out to pay respect to one of their own”.