DOZENS of well-known faces from the world of politics, media and sport turned up to pay their respects at the funeral yesterday of the political satirist and impressionist Sean Crummey.
Mr Crummey, who was aged 53, was the main voice behind BBC Radio Ulster’s The Folks On The Hill show.
He passed away on Sunday just a day after his final show was broadcast. He had been suffering from cancer.
Mourners who attended his funeral mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Dunmurry heard how he battled bravely against his illness. “Throughout his struggle it was Sean’s style to try and protect his family and friends by appearing cheerful and positive with his quick wit and good humour,” said Fr Colm McBride.
“Perhaps it was that which partly disguised the gravity of the struggle he was undergoing. It was a struggle which he and Gabrielle and the family faced with great courage and dignity.
“As we gather to pray and to support them we are also aware that many will feel diminished by Sean’s death. Such was the impact of his presence.”
Fr McBride said it had been “a triumph” when Sean rallied a month ago and was able to join friends for games of golf and resume writing.
He added: “Sean was a linguist and wordsmith. He knew the power of words.”
There were emotional scenes as the entertainer’s coffin was carried by family and friends from the chapel for burial.
Among the mourners were former SDLP leader Mark Durkan, journalist and actor Ivan Little, snooker star Joe Swail and comedian Tim McGarry.
Sean Crummey was hailed for his hilariously accurate depictions of politicians from Lord Bannside to Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly.
One of his best known characters was the Ulster Unionist MLA Michael McGimpsey.
On Monday, Mr McGimpsey said he enjoyed Mr Crummey’s sketches – even when he was included – because of the gentle type of humour that was involved.
“People very often thought it actually was me on the TV doing the voice,” he said.
“I would never have taken offence because it was a very gentle humour, very clever and never vicious.”
SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan said Mr Crummey had a “special talent which he used for the enjoyment of all, albeit with some discomfort for some of us”.
“With his telling impressions and well-honed caricatures he offered insights and asides which brightened political life here,” he said.