Mervyn and Felicity Colgan, the heartbroken parents of teenager Mark Colgan who died following a road traffic accident outside their Banbridge home in March, have paid tribute to their son saying he will be ‘desperately missed’.
Mark, who was just 14 years old, was struck by a van on the Scarva Road as he was waiting to catch the bus to school on the road outside his home.
Felicity remembers Mark being happiest at the heart of his ‘wide and loving family circle’.
She said: “He enjoyed spending time with his grandparents, uncles, and aunts, listening to their stories and offering to help them about the place.
“He was a quiet, but self-assured young man, quick to make friends and popular amongst his peers. He held those friendships dear.
“He kept in touch with his classmates from St Francis’ Primary School Loughbrickland.
“Over seven happy years there he’d blossomed into quite a performer whose entertaining routines delighted his younger schoolmates.
“In St Colman’s College Newry he’d begun to develop the independence that would see him take on new challenges in the company of new friends.”
Recalling some of Mark’s abilities, Felicity said: “Not many people knew about his talent for art.
“He’d spend hours drawing comic strips, for his own enjoyment and that of his family.
“One of his covers was printed in a Simpsons’ magazine.
“He liked a night out too, meeting up with his mates in town or in the nearby teenage discos and he revelled in the annual family holiday with his mum and dad, older brother and sister.
“His other big love was sport. He had a keen interest in it.
“He was a huge Liverpool fan and enjoyed the easy banter with his father on a Saturday as they sat down together to watch Match of the Day.
“The Ireland rugby team, the Olympics, Wimbledon - it didn’t matter to Mark - as long as there was an element of competition he was ready to pull up a chair.
“But Gaelic games were his first love, and he split his time and talent carefully between the twin commitments of football and hurling.
“He played for Aghaderg/Ballyvarley GAA club where he was proud to represent his parish.
“Through amalgamations with other clubs his reputation as a reliable and tenacious defender spread.
“He’d been marked out for a key position in a senior team of the future.
“Living beside the pitch, he was the envy of his friends.
“Many an evening he’d be spotted there, getting in some extra practice, or helping his grandfather with the upkeep of the pitch.”
Mark’s tragic death sent shockwaves throughout the community and Felicity acknowledged their care and support.
She said: “The GAA family provided great comfort at the time of Mark’s untimely death, as did the staff of his schools, neighbours and friends.
“The esteem in which he and the family are held was evident by the large turnout at his wake and funeral.
“People of all faiths came to sympathise, sent cards and attended the Month’s Mind mass and their support has been a source of strength to the family.
Felicity concluded: “Mark was just fourteen when he died in a road traffic accident.
“He’d packed a lot in to his fourteen years.
“He’ll be desperately missed by his sister Aideen, brother Paul, myself and his father Mervyn, but we take comfort from the privilege it was to know him and to share his short life”.