Funeral of school principal Francis Lagan told he was ‘the very best husband and most loving, endearing daddy’

The wife of 40-year-old primary school principal Francis Lagan who died on Friday when his car was hit by a falling tree gave a touching tribute at his funeral today.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 5:33 pm
Family and friends gather for the funeral of school principal Francis Lagan at St Patrick's Church, Glen. He was principal of St Mary's Primary School in Maghera. His car was hit by the tree while travelling on the Dublin Road near Antrim, as Storm Arwen hit Northern Ireland on Friday. Pic Colm Lenaghan/ Pacemaker

The father-of-four was laid to rest today following Requiem Mass in St Patrick’s Church, Glen in Co Londonderry.

His wife Louise, who is also a primary school principal at St Finlough’s, Ballykelly, said at the service: “The outpouring of love and support from far and wide has been overwhelming, and it is appreciated more than anyone will ever know.

She said that her husband, who was principal at St Mary’s Primary School in Maghera, had many passions including gaelic games and music, but added that, in his own words, as a principal and father-of-four he was “all about the weans”.

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An image of Francis, Louise and their family was used on the Order of Service

“Francis was frankly the very best husband and most loving, endearing daddy to our children.”

Francis and Louise, who married in Rome in 2010, have four children – Rose, eight, Alex, six, Beth, four and Frank, three.

Louise said: “These four children sitting in front of me were undoubtedly Francis’ greatest achievements. I will continue to instil his profound values – faith, family, hard work, education, community and good manners.

“We will honour his memory. Francis is gone in body, but his legacy is strong and vibrant.

“They say that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken. Francy the legend will live on. May my gentle beautiful husband, my best friend, who blessed and graced my life rest peacefully in the kingdom of heaven.”

The route outside the church was lined by people as the coffin was led in, while children from St Mary’s Primary School and players from GAA club Watty Graham’s, of which he was a lifelong member, stood in tribute at the entrance.

Parish Priest Fr Paddy Doherty said: “The crowd along the route, outside today and in the church are testimony to the esteem in which Francis was held in our community and beyond.”

He told mourners: “Francis always looked on the bright side, the full glass and always sought many pockets of goodness and hope around him as he cherished the good in people and rejoiced when people did well.

“He took time to welcome people with a smile. It was always a joy to visit the school.

“He set out to make it the best he could and he did make a difference in our lives and the lives of our community and beyond.”

Following the service at St Patrick’s Church, the respected principal was buried in the adjoining cemetery.

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