“Pure gold and a real treasure” is how the 11-year-old author of a book about battling cancer was remembered at her funeral Mass in Limerick yesterday.
Hundreds of mourners packed Raheen Church for the emotional farewell to popular local girl Becky Macauley who died on Friday after fighting brain cancer.
Among the symbols of Becky’s short life presented at the Mass of the Angels, was the diary she kept of her illness, The Little Girl with the Big Headache, which was recently published.
Tears of sorrow and laughter were heard as local curate Fr Eamonn Fitzgibbon paid tribute to the bubbly 11-year-old girl whose book raised money for the Children’s Oncology Fund at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick.
Last June, Limerick County Council honoured Becky with a civic reception for her bravery and courage in her fight against cancer.
In his homily, Fr Fitzgibbon compared Becky’s courage to that of Olympic Champion Katie Taylor.
He said just like Katie Taylor, Becky always had her family in her corner and told the Macauleys they were “an inspiration as a family”.
“We are all familiar with the (Olympic) athletes biting the medals as proof that it is gold. Becky was pure gold, a real treasure. Winning isn’t everything, it’s how you fight the fight,” Fr Fitzgibbon said.
Becky’s heartbroken father Mike told mourners his daughter was “clever beyond belief” and always determined to achieve.
He said hugs and kisses were a huge part of her life and added “most of us if not all of us here have been hugged by her at some stage.”
He joked how his wife Mary could never get their youngest child to stop talking, even when she was brushing her teeth.
“I was sitting at home with Becky and I heard on the TV that Maeve Binchy had died and how God had called her so now he could listen to her. Well move over, Maeve Binchy, Becky Macauley is here…
“Becky crammed into her 11 years what most of us can only dream of in a lifetime,” he added.
Members of Becky’s teammates from Limerick Celtics basketball club, where she wore jersey number 55, formed a guard of honour outside the church after the service.
Fifty-five blue and white balloons with handwritten personal messages including “I will miss your hugs” were released into the air as the cortege left for The Island Crematorium in Co Cork.
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