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Tributes to optician who 'smiled as he ached'

FAMOUS faces from the world of sport, broadcasting and politics turned out to pay tribute to the man they called "the optician to the stars".

They spilled out of the Corpus Christi Church on Dublin's Griffith Avenue yesterday to bid farewell to businessman and socialite Niall McCrudden.

The 45-year-old was found dead in his home last Saturday evening after a long battle with depression.

His surviving twin brother, Kevin McCrudden, told hundreds of mourners at the funeral Mass yesterday how Niall "had battled with the most terrible of illnesses".


"But our love was unfortunately not enough for him to overcome this illness. Niall was a brave man; he so wanted to beat this illness," said Kevin, who helped carry his brother's coffin out of the church with his friends, Boyzone's Keith Duffy and RTE personality Brian Ormond.

Father James Murray, who celebrated the Mass, spoke of how at ease Niall had been in the company of children.

One of the most poignant moments of the service came when his young nieces, Hannah, Isabelle, Grace, and Amber, offered prayers for their late uncle.

Music at the Mass was by singer Paul Byrom and Derek 'Doc' O'Connor of the Camembert Quartet, who performed 'Smile', made famous by Charlie Chaplin, on saxophone. "I played 'Smile' because Niall was always smiling but his heart was aching.

"He was a good friend," said Mr O'Connor.

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Former Eurovision musician Paul Harrington, surveying the crowd outside Corpus Christi Church, said: "Who didn't know Niall McCrudden? Look at all these people." Another mourner, former Miss World Rosanna Davison, said the turnout showed how everyone "enjoyed" Niall in their lives.

Former Miss Ireland Andrea Roche remembered the optician as "a gentleman who would do anything for anyone". TV personality Kathryn Thomas said simply that Mr McCrudden would be "missed by everyone".

Former Dublin Lord Mayor Royston Brady recounted how, just days before his honeymoon, Mr McCrudden had presented him and his bride with "his and hers" sunglasses. "When we told him we were only going to Dingle, he wanted us to have them anyway," said Mr Brady.

Snooker player Ken Doherty described Mr McCrudden's death as a "devastating loss" to everyone who knew him.

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