The funeral for Ronan Wilson, the nine-year-old who was killed in an alleged hit-and-run last weekend in Bundoran, Co Donegal, was held today, Thursday, September 28, in the child’s native Co Tyrone.
Wilson's white coffin was brought to the church on a blue lorry that had pictures of the child as well as the words: “My wee Roro. My main man, my hero, my soul. Roro was the best son anyone could ask for. Nine years of pure pleasure.”
Mourners gathered at St. Mary’s Church in Kildress, Co Tyrone for the funeral that was officiated by Father Paddy Hughes, the same priest who baptized Wilson and celebrated his First Holy Communion.
At the start of the Mass, Fr Hughes invited Wilson’s family and friends to place “memorabilia that represent Ronan’s short life on earth” on the altar, including family pictures, his school jersey, a Tyrone GAA jersey, an Xbox controller, an elephant teddy, and a “wee lorry to represent his love of lorries.”
During his homily, Fr Hughes reflected on how Wilson carried up a football during a Mass for the opening of the school year at St. Mary’s Primary School earlier in the month.
“I said to him, ‘Can you play football?’ And the smile got even bigger," Fr Hughes said.
“Seeing Ronan in and around the school, I would have never had to ask who he was, but he was the double of his daddy.
“Carrying up the football summed up so much of his character and life. His smile, the sense of boyish fun, he so loved life."
Fr Hughes said Wilson "mixed well with his class. He was very kindly and helpful to the other children.”
He added: “In his short life, he had been involved in a lot of activities and touched the hearts of so many people, young and old."
Fr Hughes said the whole of the parish has been “stunned” and at “a loss for words” after Wilson’s death. He thanked the community on behalf of the Wilson family for their support.
Speaking later in the Mass, Eileen Ward, the principal of St Mary’s Primary School, said: "We may have been the educators in school but Ronan has taught us so much more.
"He taught us how to embrace life and to be happy.
"He taught us the importance of friendship and to help others who may need it.
"He taught us how to laugh and to have fun and how to be confident and content in our own skin.
"He showed us that good manners and honesty are easily carried and that helping and caring for one another is so important."
Ward said Wilson has become "our angel."
On Sunday, Gardaí said that a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Atlantic Way, Bundoran in Co Donegal on Saturday night at about 9:20 pm. The vehicle involved in the collision failed to remain at the scene, Gardaí said.
Later on Sunday, a man in his 20s was arrested; he was charged on Monday.
The man, Sergee Kelly, appeared in court on Tuesday morning where he was charged with failing to stop at the scene of the crash, failing to remain at the scene, and failing to offer or get assistance.
“It was wrong and I should have stopped, but I didn’t," Kelly reportedly told gardaí when charged.
According to RTÉ, Kelly was granted bail after a €2,000 cash bond was given to the court with a further independent surety of €5,000 also provided.
He must sign on three times a week at Ballyshannon Garda Station, make no contact - either directly or indirectly or through social media or any other means - with prosecution witnesses, and surrender his passport.
Kelly was remanded to appear before Ballyshannon District Court on October 20.