Joshua McKeown Belfast: Funeral details for former Shankill Road Defenders member whom brother described as ‘a bands man through and through’

The funeral is to take place this Thursday for Josh McKeown from north Belfast, whom his brother Dylan described as “a bandsman through and through”.

Police issued a missing persons appeal for Josh on Thursday 23 June after he was last seen on 22 June at 8am. Community Search and Rescue were involved in the search.

On Sunday afternoon police released a statement saying they had recovered a body in the north Belfast area. A post mortem was due to take place to determine the cause of death, but police said that the death was not being treated as suspicious.

A family notice said that Joshua, 26, was the beloved son of Jennifer and Colin, much loved brother of Dylan, Aisha and Lewis, devoted daddy of Isla-Rose, loving uncle of Freya, Ebony and Keira and cousin of Clarke.

Joshua McKeown from Belfast was described ‘a very thoughtful guy’ who was ‘always smiling’.

Almost 260 people left messages of sympathy for Josh’s family on the north Belfast PSNI Facebook site after the news.

Eddie McCullough, from the Shankill Road Defenders told the News Letter that Joshua had been in the band for several years around 2015. 

“He was a great kid and learnt the flute in the band,” he told the News Letter. “He loved the band and we loved having him around, he was a very thoughtful guy, he was always smiling or up to something to get a laugh or bantering others within the band. We at the band are so sorry to hear of his passing and his family are very much in our thoughts in the days and weeks ahead.”

The band issued a statement of condolence on Facebook.

“The Officers and Members of the Shankill Road Defenders are Saddened to hear of the passing of Ex-band member Josh Mckeown,” it said. “We would like to pass on our deepest sympathy and thoughts to Josh’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time. Forever young.” Around 160 people left messages of support on the band’s Facebook site, including his brother.

Dylan Mckeown said: “Thank you lads biggest respect for the post about my brother he lived and loved your band. He was a bands man through and through.”

Heather Millar also posted: “Oh no way I was really praying this young man would be found safe, so sorry to his family and friends on his passing , totally heartbreaking, gone way too soon, rest easy young man”.

The funeral service is be held in Stephen McCosh Funeral Church, 117-121 Shankill Road, Belfast, on Thursday 30 June at 11.45am, and afterwards to Roselawn Cemetery.