Leon’s friends urged not to hide their grief

Teenagers attending the funeral of a 14-year-old boy who died after he became trapped in railings were urged to be kind to each other and express their grief and pain.

Leon Connon, from The Orchards, Kinsale, Co Cork, died on Tuesday, three days after the accident near his family home. He is survived by parents Derbhail and Frank.

Chief celebrant Fr Robert Young said that when he was told by the family that Leon’s life-support machine would have to be turned off, he felt very sad at the thought of the end of a beautiful young life.

“I thought, if I felt this way, what must the pain be like for Derbhail and Frank and for the other members of Leon’s family,” he said.

Fr Young urged Leon’s classmates to express their grief and pain.

The service was broadcast to students at Kinsale Community School.

A class picture, shield, sword, and tunic, Leon’s earphones and a football jersey were among the symbols of his life brought to the altar during a liturgy service at St John the Baptist Church in Kinsale.

Head prefects at Kinsale Community School Aaron O’Sullivan and Faye Murphy told mourners of Leon’s love of sport, music, King Arthur, and the history of war, and of his great qualities as a friend.

“Leon the lion, the strong one,” said Aaron. “At rehearsal last night, we recalled the night Leon had slept in his armour because he’d been told a scary story. For all the fun, we give thanks.”

A class photo and a uniform with the Summercove crest symbolised Leon’s life at primary school, where he enrolled after moving to Kinsale from Skibbereen. His teachers remembered him as a “kind, articulate and intelligent boy”.

Leon’s Xbox, a Chelsea jersey, and his headphones represented happy memories and his love of rap music, while a St Brigid’s Cross woven by a friend captured a sense of his life.

Students, teachers, family, and friends shed tears through the service, in which the school choir sang hymns and Leon’s classmates shared their thoughts and memories of him.

They described a teenager who was “funny, good company, and most of all a good friend”. Leon had a great sense of humour, he could always lift their spirits, his classmates said.

They offered prayers for Leon’s parents, and the emergency services that attended the scene of the accident, and staff at CUH, who battled to save Leon’s life.

Leon’s classmates formed a guard of honour outside the church and escorted the funeral cortege through the streets of Kinsale after the service.

His remains were brought to Dublin for private cremation at 12pm today.

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