Mourners remembered Matthew Crawford on Monday as a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin and a good and loyal friend.
Matthew, age 21, of Elmwood Downs, and Shaun Graham, age 19, of Ballymacool, were killed in the road traffic accident that occurred outside of Rathmullan shortly after 3am on Saturday. Two other young men were also seriously injured in the one-vehicle crash.
Matthew’s funeral was held on Monday at the Church of the Irish Martyrs in Letterkenny.
Father Brian Quinn said in his homily that the funeral was “a celebration of his all too short life”.
“It is so difficult to find a word today,” Father Brian said. “I am sure many of you do not want to listen to any words because I have seen in the faces of young people the utter despair, the anger, the sense that this is not happening, the search for an answer: Why? Why Matthew? Why Shaun?
“I have no answer or solution to those questions,” Father Brian said.
Two weeks earlier, Matthew had been at Irish Martyrs church as a godfather to “a lovely little baby, Ava, and I know it was a proud moment for him,” Father Brian said. “It is tough to try and understand he is here today again, but in this coffin.”
Matthew’s mother, Joan, and his sister, Naomi, led the mourners into the church where a children’s choir from St. Mary’s in Ramelton, under the direction of Morgan Mooney, provided the music. The funeral was concelebrated by Father Brian, Father Joseph O’Donnell of the Church of the Irish Martyrs; Father Paddy Dunne, who taught at St. Eunan’s College; Father Martin Collum of Rathmullan, who was called to Saturday’s tragic accident; Canon Denis McGettigan of Raphoe and Father Des Kelly of Enniscrone, County Sligo.
Father Brian asked what mourners could learn from Matthew’s tragic death. “There is one thing to always remember. The body is a very fragile shell. It always needs care and protection,” he said.
“It is in all of our natures to seek freedom to be free spirits,” he said. “Life has a beginning and an end and in between we all have to make some choices during our lives and with that comes certain responsibilities.
“Please take care and look out for one another in life,” Father Brian said.
Later, one of Matthew’s friends read from the altar a poem that they had written in tribute to the young man.
On Tuesday, tutor Valerie Bryce posted a tribute to Matthew on Facebook on behalf of Matthew’s fellow classmates in the Young, Eager and Willing to Work programme at Swilly Group. Calling him, “quite simply the funniest human being I ever had the pleasure of meeting,” Valerie said, “I sat with Matthew on his own on Tuesday and spoke about all the things he had to look forward to in his life.
“He had a keen interest in gardening and was about to start a work placement in the garden centre in St.Conal’s. Truth be told, the reason I wanted him to go there was for him to see firsthand how infectious his humour was and how it lifted people’s spirits,” the tutor wrote. “I wanted him to be aware of this gift going through his life.”
Following the funeral, Matthew was laid to rest at Conwal cemetery, where his friend, Shaun Graham, had been laid to rest some hours earlier.