THE community of Gorey was shocked last Thursday at the sudden death of James 'The Rock' Saunders at the age of 30.
The community of Gorey was shocked last Thursday at the sudden death of James 'The Rock' Saunders at the age of 30.
James who was originally from Wexford town was fostered by the Atkins family in Clough in 1994 when he was 11 years old.
In 1999, he moved to Courtown to live with Jack and Teresa Kinsella.
James was a former student of Gorey Community College where he excelled academically and was a keen student.
Following his Leaving Certificate he studied at Carlow IT and also spent a summer in Boston on a J1 visa.
James, who died of a suspected heart attack struggled with his mental health, attending Tara House regularly.
He worked in the Beacon Nightclub and the Orphan Girl in his younger days and was well liked by his colleagues.
Music was a great passion and he had an encyclopedic knowledge of music. A keen fan of local band Thunderbird, James often volunteered his services, free of charge, as a roadie and travelled all over the south east with the band.
He was also a big U2 and Beatles fan and his McCurtin Street home was full of books on both bands and indeed others as his knowledge of music grew.
James was highly thought of by all who knew him and friend Shane Doyle said that 'once you met him once you liked him. He was a real warm caring person despite his struggles. When he was well he was great craic and in top form'.
James was also a keep fit enthusiast and was a member of the Ashdown Park gym attending three times a week.
He also was very civic-minded and volunteered with the Gorey Tidy Towns and also the NWSPCA. He also attended Gorey's Men Shed.
Following his death the NWSPCA said it 'will miss the compassion and time he gave our pets and the support he gave to animal welfare'.
A spokesperson from Gorey Men's Shed said the members were deeply shocked and saddened to learn of his death. 'James always turned up for weekly activities and was always fun. He was a nice guy. Anything he was asked to do, he gave it a go. If he was asked to be there at ten to ten he would be there at twenty to.'
Affectionately known at 'The Rock' because of his love of wrestling and in particular, wrestler turned actor, Dwayne Johnson James took part in many courses including the Men's Cookery Course at the Gorey Family Resource Centre.
James' remains are reposing at Macken's Funeral Home, Wexford from 3pm today (Tuesday) with removal to Rowe Street Church for 7pm this evening.
Requiem Mass will take place tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11am followed by cremation at Mount Jerome Crematorium, Dublin.