Matthew Biggerstaff: Family takes ‘great comfort’ from large crowd of mourners at funeral

The family of a 21-year-old who died following a workplace accident in Co Armagh has taken “great comfort” from the large crowds who turned out for his funeral.

Monday, 9th August 2021, 9:45 am
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 2:13 pm
Matthew Biggerstaff's coffin is taken into Ballymore Parish Church in his home town of Tandragee before his funeral on Saturday

Matthew Biggerstaff, a popular young man whose family spoke of his “ability to light up a room”, died last week following an incident at the Taranto concrete factory on the Old Scarva Road in Tandragee.

Hundreds turned out to say their goodbyes as he was laid to rest at the weekend.

Councillor Paul Berry was amongst those paying their respects at Mr Biggerstaff’s funeral at Ballymore Parish Church in Tandragee on Saturday.

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Tandragee man Matthew Biggerstaff who died tragically in a workplace incident last week

“There were several hundred who walked from the family home [for the funeral service] and the town centre itself had quite a large crowd of people, young and old, to pay their respects.

“He was exceptionally popular and in the town of Tandragee, in Laurelvale and the surrounding area, Portadown, he had a vast amount of friends. That was reflected yesterday in the number of people.

“In fact I spoke with the parents and that is something they had taken great comfort from, because they just couldn’t believe the crowds that were there.”

Mr Berry continued: “He was one popular young man who had shone a light in the lives of so many people.

“Whilst his death has been so tragic, the aftermath of it this past week has left such a dark cloud over the town.

“It is a massive loss locally but the community have rallied round to give him a good send-off, which was good to see.”

Meanwhile, a fundraising appeal set up in honour of Mr Biggerstaff has raised thousands for the charity air ambulance.

Family friend Gillian Rowe set up the online appeal.

“We as a close-knit community would like to try and help his family in any way we can,” she said. “The family have decided they would like the air ambulance to benefit, which is fantastic news.”

Yesterday afternoon, the appeal had raised nearly £6,000.

Ms Rowe said: “I, from the very bottom of my heart, truly thank everyone and I know the family will feel the same.”

In a statement, Mr Biggerstaff’s family said: “We are devastated at the sudden and tragic death of Matthew who was a much loved son, brother, grandson, cousin and nephew. Matthew had the ability to light up a room with his bubbly personality and his smile. Just like any young person of 21, he loved spending time with his friends and he was a great friend to so many.”