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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Tragic Emily (10) remembered as ‘a ball of energy’

The parents of Emily Wilson (10) Nick Wilson and Caitriona Clutterbuck walk hand in hand as they follow her coffin after funeral Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Gortnahoo, Co. Tipperary.
The parents of Emily Wilson (10) Nick Wilson and Caitriona Clutterbuck walk hand in hand as they follow her coffin after funeral Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Gortnahoo, Co. Tipperary.
Emily Wilson (10), who died suddenly while warming up for a camogie game at Gortnahoe-Glengoole GAA grounds in Co Tipperary on May 4, 2013. That's her, 4th from left, front row.
Emily Wilson's coffin is carried after funeral Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Gortnahoo, Co. Tipperary
Emily Wilson's coffin is carried after funeral Mass in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Gortnahoo, Co. Tipperary
Emily Wilson (10), who died while warming up for a camogie game at Gortnahoe-Glengoole GAA grounds in Co Tipperary. Inset: her mum Caitriona Clutterbuck
Emily Wilson

Conor Kane

A TOY rabbit, a Tipperary jersey and poster, a photo album, books, a souvenir of the Olympic Games and model dogs - some symbols of the short but happy life of Emily Wilson who was laid to rest today.

Her heartbroken parents Caitriona Clutterbuck and Nick Wilson said goodbye to their only child who collapsed and died while preparing for a camogie match in the local GAA ground on Saturday.

The tokens of her 10-year-old life were brought to the altar at the beginning of the funeral Mass at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Gortnahoe, Co Tipperary

The end was marked by an emotionally-charged rendition of the hymn, Queen of the May (Bring Flowers of the Rarest), led by Emily’s mother, poet and academic Caitriona whose powerful voice rang around the church and drew a sustained round of applause from mourners.

Described as “a ball of energy,” Emily packed much into her all-too-brief life before her sudden death on Saturday and much of it was recalled before her burial yesterday in the Good Shepherd Cemetery.

She loved camogie and GAA in general, and had a poster of the 2010 All-Ireland winning Tipperary team on her wall.

Her love of reading was symbolised by a brief reading by Fr Larry O’Keeffe from The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis while her passion for dogs by the dog-related collage made at the school just a stone’s throw from the church.

Her love of the church choir, altar-serving and the schoolfriends who fought back tears as they formed a guard of honour for Emily’s white coffin was also in evidence.

A number of priests concelebrated the funeral Mass which saw the church in Gortnahoe packed to capacity with many more mourners listening quietly outside, including local priests Fr John O’Rourke and Fr Nicholas Irwin as well as Fr Joe Walsh who was formerly based locally and is now in Upperchurch-Drombane in the north of the county.

Delivering the homily, Fr Walsh said Emily had “so many beautiful gifts which she shared and used, but in a quiet, humble way,” and was “so happy” in fourth class at the local school. “She was what you could call ‘at home’.”

She also had a glint in her eye, he said. “She loved a little bit of fun, a joke, a prank, and especially a good old laugh. She loved nothing more. Because of her personality, she made many friends.”

Emily had “a foot in many homes” throughout the parish and further afield, Fr Walsh said, because of her friendly personality. “She was such a happy child, that smile was electric, and I know today - and this is very important - that Caitriona and Nick would like to thank everyone, who not only in these last few days and especially on Saturday, but over 10 mighty years the many people who helped shape and make her the happy little pet she was.”

He drew a ripple of laughter from the congregation when recalling one of Emily’s favourite prayers: “Thank you God for today, Amen,” before himself thanking God for Emily.

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