Mourners at the funeral of tragic Belfast teenager Megan McAlorum were told today that she had been a friendly young girl “bursting with life”.
Hundreds of people packed into St Oliver Plunkett Church in the Lenadoon area for her Requiem Mass.
Many, including friends and former classmates at St Genevieve’s school, stood outside weeping.
The 16-year-old’s body was discovered in woods on the outskirts of west Belfast on Easter Monday, after she had enjoyed a night out with friends.
She had suffered head injuries.
Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland who investigated her killing attended the service.
A 16-year-old youth has been charged with her murder and a 24-year-old man has been charged with withholding information.
As crowds lined the route of the funeral procession, members of the family including her mother Margaret and father Frankie helped carry the white coffin from her home in Glencolin Way.
A floral tribute with the words “sister” was prominently displayed in the hearse from her brothers Frankie, Richard and Stephen and sisters Lynne, Paula, and Kirsty.
Father Martin Magill in his homily, said Megan’s death had touched many hearts in the tight-knit community.
“I was particularly struck by the description that one of Megan’s aunts, Geraldine, used about her when she said: ‘Megan was bursting with life’.”
He said she was very popular with everyone including staff and customers at the Glenowen Inn where she worked.
“Megan loved children and was looking forward to starting a child care course in September.
“She enjoyed being an auntie and of course had a great love for her own nephews and nieces.”
The priest added it was particularly poignant on Tuesday afternoon when her nephew Adrian Sean Raymond, who was born on Monday, evening was brought home from hospital.
“A few hours later on that same afternoon, Megan’s coffin was at last brought home to Glencolin.”
He echoed the words of a fellow priest who had described the place where her body was discovered as a “place of beauty touched by evil”.
“In the quiet scene, overlooking Belfast with birds chirping in the trees nearby, it was hard to imagine that here Megan McAlorum met her death.”
The priest said the hundreds of messages in the books of condolence showed how many lives had been touched by her generous and friendly personality.
He said she had an enjoyment of glamour which included using her mother’s best make-up.
“The picture of Megan, the lively young teenager wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t also mention her high-heels and the efforts she went to to squeeze into the most unlikely of shoes.”
He also paid tribute to the brave words of Megan’s mother Margaret who vowed “we as a family will not be destroyed by this”.
“I believe she’s right. The events of Easter Monday were not God’s will, but from Megan’s death God has already brought so much good, much more that any of us will ever realise this side of the grave.”
After the requiem mass, Megan’s coffin was taken for burial to the City Cemetery.