Hundreds of people gathered at St Eugene’s Cathedral this morning for the funeral Mass of much loved Derry man Martin McCrossan.
Family, friends, politicians and well known faces from television were among the crowd who gathered to say farewell to man who had been”taken too soon.”
There was only the sound of the Cathedral bells as Martin’s remains were carried to the church door, by six pall bearers from City Tours dressed in Martin’s distinctive bright yellow rain jacket.
Following behind were Martin’s wife Sharon, comforted by his daughters Christina and Charlene.
The flowers on the car spelt one word - Granda - a role the congregation were told that Martin loved.
Father Paul Farren said the people had gathered in “shock and sadness.”
“We come together as one family,” he said, welcoming members of other churches who attended.
“What has happened makes no sense.
“Martin was full of life, full of energy, full of the future.
“It all ended so suddenly and so quickly, too suddenly and too quickly.
“We ask why and we struggle to come even close to an answer because in truth, there is no answer today.”
He spoke of Martin’s deep faith and his believe in eternal life in God.
“Martin was a man of faith,” he said. “I remember being at 8 mass in the Long Tower and seeing Martin there in the mornings.
“Martin was loved by this city. If we say Derry was one single house, Martin was the man of the house who welcomed the visitors and told them the story, and he loved doing it and they loved him doing it.
“He was so full of energy and so full of life, he was man who could admit his failure as much as his success and he could learn from both.
“Martin knew the dignity of work, he was always working, his drive and passion enabled him to do what he did, he was an extremely generous man, a generous supporter of the Foyle Hospice.
“The most important part of Martin’s life was his family, he lived for his family.
“They were both the source of his energy and the reason he did what he did.
“He lived for you Sharon, Christina and Charlene. He was bursting with love and pride for you all.
“We celebrate the funeral Mass of one of the best known people in Derry but also a devoted husband, father and grandfather, Martin loved being a grandfather.”
Father Farren said there was no answer as to why Martin died too early.
“We pray we will be inspired by Martin’s life.”
He said there was no doubt that Martin will have already started tours of heaven.
“Often we say of people who have died, rest in peace. But I can’t imagine Martin wanting to rest, it wasn’t in his nature.
“We pray he will live with great energy and joy in the presence of God.”
Those among the congregation included Derry’s mayor Brenda Stevenson, John Hume. Bishop McKeown, Paul Clark of UTV and Pat Ramsey.