Tributes paid to a ‘unique, special and gifted’ young man

Matthew Bradley.
Matthew Bradley.

A young Glenavy man who was fatally injured in a hit-and-run incident in Liverpool earlier this month had “a life full of so much further promise”, his funeral has heard.

Mourners gathered at St Joseph’s Church, Glenavy on Tuesday morning (November 14) for Requiem Mass, where they heard parish priest Fr Colm McBride pay tribute to award-winning landscape gardener Matthew Bradley.

Family and friends gathered for the funeral of Mathew Bradley at  St Joseph's Church, Glenavy on Tuesday morning.  Pic by Pacemaker Press

Family and friends gathered for the funeral of Mathew Bradley at St Joseph's Church, Glenavy on Tuesday morning. Pic by Pacemaker Press

The 24-year-old had been enjoying a night out with friends in Liverpool city centre on November 3 when he was struck by a car.

Despite the efforts of passers-by and medical personnel, he passed away at the Royal Liverpool Hospital a few hours later.

Two men, aged 33 and 22, have since been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

During the homily at his funeral mass, Fr McBride told how Matthew’s death had united the local community in “grief and quiet despair” with his parents, who lost another son in a road accident in 1994.

Mourners walking behind the hearse at the funeral of Glenavy man Matthew Bradley. Pic by Pacemaker Press

Mourners walking behind the hearse at the funeral of Glenavy man Matthew Bradley. Pic by Pacemaker Press

“The tragic circumstances of Matthew’s death can lead to feelings of anger and frustration. We don’t anticipate celebrating a funeral Mass for a 24 year old, in the best of health with a life full of so much further promise,” Fr McBride said.

“Since the news of his death reached us, we as a community have been united in grief and quiet despair with Margaret and Donald and their family, deeply aware that this is the second such occasion in their life.

“Up to a few days ago there was nothing but great expectations for Matthew and his life. But now we have gathered in prayer to celebrate that life and give thanks to God for Matthew and all that made him unique, special, gifted.”

Giving thanks for Matthew’s life, Fr McBride continued: “Like any young man of that age it was all about the future. But his 24 years is Matthew’s life. It has been a good life.

“He has been blessed in having experienced just about all the best things that it can offer. We celebrate and give thanks for that this morning.”

Mourners heard Fr McBride describe Matthew, a former student of Aquinas Grammar and Greenmount College, as “a loving, quiet, witty and generous young man” who was a talented landscape gardener and was blessed with many gifts, particularly the ability to make friends.

He went on to ask those in attendance to keep Matthew’s loved ones in their hearts and pray for them in the months ahead.

Matthew was laid to rest in the cemetery adjoining St Joseph’s Church.