Callum Friel lived “a life full of vigour and enthusiasm”, mourners at the funeral of the 17-year-old who died after a battle with leukaemia have been told.
The teenager from Creeslough passed away in St James’s Hospital in Dublin on Friday after a long illness.
His death has brought a huge outpouring of grief.
Callum was a well-known sportsman with St Michael’s GAA club in Dunfanaghy, St Eunan’s College in Letterkenny and Dunfanaghy Youths soccer club.
Pupils from St Eunan's College, teammates from St Michael’s and Dunfanaghy Youths formed a guard of honour outside St Michael’s Church in Creeslough for his funeral Mass.
Hundreds, including pupils and teachers from his school and fellow club members, packed the church in Creeslough on Monday morning where chief celebrant Fr John Joe Duffy told mourners Callum’s death has brought sorrow and pain to his community and to his school.
The late Callum Friel
“Callum touched many lives in a very special way,” he said.
Among the mourners were his parents Yvonne and Manus, brother Ruairi, sister Cassie, and Callum’s wide family circle and friends.
Mourners heard how Callum had excelled at Gaelic football, soccer and badminton and had picked up many honours in his short life.
Fr Duffy said Callum was a wonderful loving son, grandson, brother, godson, nephew, cousin and friend. He was “blessed to be a member of such a loving and wonderful family,” he said.
Callum was a supportive grandson who loved nothing more than spending time with his four grandparents, he said.
He said Callum was blessed to have so many friends in different areas of his life.
“He was competitive and loved having fun while making sure everyone else was included,” he said.
“He was someone who listened carefully to others and what they had to say and always gave a considered response.”
Fr Duffy encouraged the young people in the congregation to feel free to speak to others.
“I know you have the feeling you have been robbed of a friend,” he said.
Fr Duffy said Callum is remembered by friends as someone who taught them to fight to the end, taught them how precious life is and how there was “always laughter and craic”.
Symbols of Callum’s life brought to the altar included a photograph of his family, his PS4 console which had helped him keep in touch with friends through online gaming when he was in hospital, a Dunfanaghy Youths jersey, his school journal from St Eunan’s College, a Liverpool FC songbook and a St Michael’s jersey.
On his coffin rested a photograph of Callum wearing the number 14 jersey for St Michael’s, along with a red and white flag.
Rev Canon David Skuce told mourners that St Michael’s was Callum’s second family and the club’s ground, the Bridge, was his second home.
On behalf of Callum’s family, Fr Duffy thanked everyone who had helped care for him through his illness and supported the family in recent days.
Callum was laid to rest in Doe cemetery.
Callum in action for Dunfanaghy Youths PICTURE: STEPHEN DOHERTY
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