Tuesday 27 September 2016

Leaving Cert: Mother's grief at collecting tragic Melissa's results

Caroline Crawford and Nicola Anderson

Published 13/08/2015 | 02:30

The family of Melissa Patterson who died in a road accident at their home in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Her twin sister Belinda with her leaving cert results, her sister Samantha and brother Eamonn. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
The family of Melissa Patterson who died in a road accident at their home in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Her twin sister Belinda with her leaving cert results, her sister Samantha and brother Eamonn. Photo : Keith Heneghan / Phocus
Melissa Patterson’s mother Carmel Cusack, twin sister Belinda, with her Leaving Cert results, and older sibling Samantha at their home in Castlebar, Co Mayo, yesterday

Leaving Cert euphoria was tinged with great sadness for two schools, deep in mourning for a teenage boy and girl who died before they had a chance to collect their results.

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Counsellors and psychologists were on hand at Templemichael College in Longford, where students struggled to come to terms with the loss of their former classmate, Michael Warren (18), who died following a car crash just outside Longford town in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The late Melissa Patterson
Pic: Sunday World
The late Melissa Patterson Pic: Sunday World

Michael, who lived at Newtownforbes in Longford, was a passenger in a car containing four others which struck a ditch on the outskirts of Longford at 3.50am.

Read more: Agony and joy - but mostly relief - as teenagers get results

He passed away in hospital on Monday evening.

His remains reposed at his home yesterday as his parents Vinny and Elaine, sisters Catriona, Ciara and Megan, and brother Cormac mourned privately ahead of his funeral today.

Shanuna Byrne, 19, left, and Sinead Power celebrate after receiving their Leaving certificate results at St Raphaelas Secondary School in Stillorgan. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 12/8/2015
Shanuna Byrne, 19, left, and Sinead Power celebrate after receiving their Leaving certificate results at St Raphaelas Secondary School in Stillorgan. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 12/8/2015
12/8/15 REPRO FREE Success all around for Cistercian College Leaving Cert students. The Roscrea College comes away with great results. Pictured are Paddy McKeon, Naas and Jack Buckley, Nenagh. Pic Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Here's happy Lucy Prendeville from Sacred Heart in Tullamore. Submitted by Catherine Prendeville who says Lucy is a "great girl" and that Lucy, who earned a whopping 8 A1s, is hoping to study Nanoscience in Trinity.
12 Aug 2015: Students after receiving their Leaving Cert results. O'Connells School, North Richmond Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
12 Aug 2015: Hayley Briody, 17, from Drumree, Co. Meath, gets a kiss from her mother Shelia after receiving her Leaving Cert results (and 595 points). Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Adam Atouani, 17, left, and Sean Stevenson, 17, both from Dublin 1, celebrate after receiving their Leaving Cert results. O'Connells School, North Richmond Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Tricia Keogh submitted this photo of happy Taylor McHugh from Ballyfermot
12/8/15 REPRO FREE Success all around for Cistercian College Leaving Cert students. The Roscrea College comes away with great results. Pictured are Paddy McKeon, Naas, Adam Flaherty, Nenagh, Martin Phelan, Laois and Cormac Phelan, Laois. Pic Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
Emma Downes submitted this photo of her cousin Lauren through Facebook, saying "This little cutie had a twinkle in her eye starting junior infants, secretly she was reaching for the stars with her intelligence, we are all so proud of our cousin Lauren Markey, your hard work and dedication has paid off. Here's to the next chapter in your life. Love you loads XXX. Lauren had a tough year with the passing of our dear grandmother, so gettting her 485 (including an honour in honours maths) is a fantastic achievement."
12/8/15 REPRO FREE Success all around for Cistercian College Leaving Cert students. The Roscrea College comes away with great results. Pictured is Liam Walsh, Carrigaline Cork who plays under 20s with Munster celebrates hiss fantastic Leaving Cert results at the Cistercian College, Roscrea with his parents Joe and Jacky who celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary yesterday (Wednesday). Pic Sean Curtin Fusionshooters.
12 Aug 2015: Katie McGuinness, left, 18, from Swords, and Sian Walton, 18, from Ashbourne, after receiving their Leaving Cert results. Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Laura Delaney (left) submitted this photo of her and friend Naomy Bikunda receiving their results at Mount Mercy College, Cork. Laura said both of them were absolutely delighted.
12 Aug 2015: Hayley Briody, 17, from Drumree, Co. Meath, with her Leaving Cert results (595 points). Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Proud mum Aoife Glancy Carey submitted this photo of her son Ryan Glancy Carey and his grand parents, Antoinette and Sean Glancy. "The apple of their eye." Ryan, from Glasnevin, went to Mount Temple on the Malahide Rd.
12/08/15 Maria Westwood, Leixlip Dairine O'Rourke, Celbridge and Nicole Flynn from Leixlip pictured this morning picking up their Leaving Cert results from Col?iste Chiar?in, Leixlip.. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Aibhe Sheridan from Rush with her mother Sinead after receiving the results of her Leaving Certificate exams at St Josephs's secondary School, Rush, County Dublin as her music teacher Aine Lynch looks on. Pic:Mark Condren 12.8.2015
12/08/15 Kiera Kilduff and Danu McGownan from Lucan pictured this morning picking up their Leaving Cert results from St. Josephs College, Lucan.. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Aibhe Sheridan from Rush with her mother Sinead (on left) and music teacher Aine Lynch after receiving the results of her Leaving Certificate exams at St Josephs's secondary School, Rush, County Dublin. Pic:Mark Condren 12.8.2015
12 Aug 2015: Clare O'Brien, 18, from Dunshaughlin, with her mother Una shedding a tear, after receiving her Leaving Cert results (and 505 points). Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
David O'Rourke from Rush and Brian Flynn from Lusk after receiving the results of their Leaving Certificate exams at St Josephs's secondary School, Rush, County Dublin. Pic:Mark Condren 12.8.2015
12/08/15 Kiera Kilduff and Danu McGownan from Lucan pictured this morning picking up their Leaving Cert results from St. Josephs College, Lucan.. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Ellie Farrell is congratulated by her mum Linda, as she receive her Leaving certificate results at St Raphaelas Secondary School in Stillorgan. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 12/8/2015
12 Aug 2015: Sian Kiernan, left, 17, Finglas, and Darragh Clarke Hagan, 18, from Navan after receiving their Leaving Cert results. O'Connells School, North Richmond Street, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
Emma Cunningham, left, and Chelsea Traynor, students at St Raphaelas Secondary School in Stillorgan celebrate as they receive their Leaving certificate results. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 12/8/2015
12 Aug 2015: Ellen Kelly, left, 19, from Ranelagh, celebrates with Anna Fitzpatrick, 19, from Navan road, after receiving their Leaving Cert results. Loreto College, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn
12/08/15 Sarah Dunne and Niamh Blanch from Palmerstown pictured this morning picking up their Leaving Cert results from St. Josephs College, Lucan.. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
12/08/15 Raissa Ndakengerwa from Leixlip pictured this morning picking up her Leaving Cert results from Col?iste Chiar?in, Leixlip.. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
12/08/15 Dairine O'Rourke, Celbridge is congratulated by her mother Trish pictured this morning picking up their Leaving Cert results from Col?iste Chiar?in, Leixlip.. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Meanwhile, the mother of a teenager who died last month proudly remembered a daughter who "lived every day to the full" as she opened her Leaving Cert results.

Melissa Patterson died on July 30 as a result of injuries she sustained when she was hit by a car on the N60 at Breaffy, Co Mayo.

Her mother Carmel remembered the moment she heard that Melissa had been in an accident.

"My boss came to my department, I work in the Mayo General Hospital, so she said 'one of your daughters has been admitted'. So I kind of panicked," she told Newstalk this afternoon.

“One of the nurses came and took it from there and said 'your daughter’s critical' and I couldn’t understand why and they said she had been hit by a car.

“I panicked, I wanted to see her. So eventually they allowed me to see her, but they were keeping her alive... they said she had catastrophic injury and there was nothing they could do.

“All of her teams from Castlebar Town, and her coaches and the parents, and all her friends were outside of the hospital in the foyer and they were all devastated.

“We was waiting for one of our cousins to come from Galway and she came at around 11 o’clock and waited about half hour with Mellisa and they switched of the ventilator at 23 minutes past 11.

“I still haven’t realised it yet that she’s gone..”

Yesterday her heartbroken family received her Leaving Cert results along with those of her twin sister Belinda.

Mother Carmel, Belinda and older siblings Samantha and Eamon gathered at their Castlebar home to open the results, which were personally delivered by the school principal of Davitt College, Bernie Rowland.

Read more: Majority of parents forced to borrow for college costs

"I can't believe she's not here to open them, she did so well. She passed everything and I'm so proud of her," said Carmel.

She remembered her daughter's constant joy, describing how Melissa would "live every day to the full".

“We kind of celebrated in our own way and toasted to her. We went out to dinner and I bought her picture with me. She had passed everything and so had Belinda.

“She was mad into sport, she was determined, even on the pitch she would try and get all the girls together and never, never give up.

“Beautiful, beautiful girl, she was always happy and she took it day by day - nothing ever fazed Mellissa.

“Belinda and herself were inseparable and also their sister Samantha was very close to both of them and also my son Eamonn, we’re a very close-knit family.

“We hadn’t much but we got on with the love we had for each other.

“We’d always analyse the football every time they had a game.”

Melissa had planned on putting off college for a few years and had just had a job interview in the local hospital on the day she died.

A number of students availed of counselling at Davitt College yesterday, said Ms Rowland, explaining that this Leaving Cert class of 129 pupils had been very close.

The Patterson family have set up a fund in memory of Melissa, who was "sports mad", to help disadvantaged students to reach their full potential through sport. The Melissa Patterson Memorial Fund bank account is at Bank of Ireland, Castlebar, sort code 90 37 44 and account number 20757510.

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