'A small age but a big presence on this island' - funeral of Morgan (13) killed in crash off Mayo
A 13 year-old schoolboy who died in a single vehicle crash on Clare Island off Mayo at the weekend was recalled at his funeral today as a person of "small age but a big presence".
Fr John Kenny, chief celebrant of the funeral Mass for Morgan Pinder, described the young man as a great ambassador for the island through his involvement in farming, Gaelic football, music and public speaking.
Clare Island has a population of approximately 160.
"When a child dies it is always nature backwards, grief is overwhelming, and life can never be the same again", Fr Kenny said in a homily which was relayed by loudspeaker to hundreds standing outside a thronged Church of the Sacred Heart on the western edge of the island.
Fr Kenny, who travelled from Westport to Clare Island to administer the last rites in the early hours of Sunday, described Morgan as a person who was thoughtful and kind who could captivate audiences with his performances.
He described the schoolboy, who was due to begin his secondary education at Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh next month, as "full of life, taken from this life 80 years too soon".
Fr Kenny continued: "He could make you laugh out loud with his sense of humour. He was so many things in so many ways to so many people in such a short lifetime".
Light rain sprinkled the vast throng of mourners as they followed the wicker basket containing the remains as it was carried by Morgan's older brothers, his father Tom, and other relatives, from the Pinder family bungalow at Gurteen to the church about half a mile away.
Amongst a number of guards of honour along the route were ones provided by and members of Louisburgh GAA Club as well as sheep farmers, accompanied by their individual prize rams. Mourners were told that Morgan was renowned for his prize-winning rams.
"Many's the hour he spent fluffing up lambs to keep them looking the best", recalled a relative at the presentation of offertory gifts where the mementos carried to the altar included some of the various rosettes he won over the years, as well as his sheep shears.
The inhabitants of neighbouring islands, including Inishturk and Achill Island, as well as Inishbofin, have been travelling to Clare Island since news of the tragedy broke on Sunday to offer their sympathy to the dead youth's parents, Tom and Maureen, and his three older brothers, Christian, Dylan and Jack, as well as his grandparents, Margaret and Tom Pinder, and other relatives.
At the end of the funeral Mass, one of his brothers, Christian, expressed gratitude on behalf of his family for the huge support they have received.
Morgan was a regular altar server in the island church and on Saturday last, before his untimely death, served at the Month's Mind Mass for island pastor who died suddenly in June, aged just 38.
Sporty, like his dad, Morgan participated in the Clare Island 10 in aid of Cancer Care West in April, coming 21st in a long field of runners.
His dad, Tom, came 9th in the race.
Morgan celebrated his 13th birthday in March. Earlier this year he accompanied a group from St.Patrick's National School to Arás an Uachtaráin .
Morgan was involved in a single-vehicle collision at about 1am, near his home on Sunday morning.
A passing motorist came upon the scene and alerted the emergency services, but sadly the teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post mortem examination was carried out at Mayo University Hospital on Sunday prior to the remains being returned to the island for burial.
An inquest will be conducted later.