Hundreds of mourners gathered to say a final farewell to Patrick Grimley – a man who was “generous, thoughtful, vibrant, and full of humour”.
St Joseph’s Church in Madden was packed as friends, family and the wider community came together to said goodbye to the 40-year-old who tragically lost his life in a road traffic collision last Saturday morning.
During a highly-emotional Requiem Mass, items were brought to the altar, including a family photo, which represented Patrick’s love for his wife, Ciera, and children Tagdh, Mya and Cadhla.
A football and Madden jersey were also offered up as these represented Patrick’s dedication to his club, Madden Raparees. A deck of cards and darts represented his passion for gaming; which was followed by a Bar One Racing top – where he worked for 23 years, from the age of 17.
Finally, a headset was placed on the altar; Patrick’s latest vocation in commentary – his voice synonymous with Armagh TV in recent times.
Patrick’s younger brother Liam, paid a heartfelt tribute to “the boss of our home”.
He spoke of how Patrick attended Madden Primary school before going on to St Patrick’s Grammar in Armagh.
“I think mum and dad got more phone calls from the teachers about his messing than his actual education,” Liam joked.
Patrick started working in Bar One racing when he was 17 and 23 years later, had moved himself from the first rung of the ladder to being the manager.
“A job he was brilliant at,” enthused Liam. “A job he loved doing, and he loved the banter with the rest of the staff, many of whom have become close friends”.
Patrick married his beloved wife Ciera in 2009 and went on to have three beautiful children, whom he adored.
Liam said his brother “was a brilliant husband, daddy and best friend to them”.
“Last year, Patrick, Ciera and the kids went on a trip of a lifetime to Disneyland and those memories are something I know kids, you can hold on to forever.”
Liam, who himself played for Madden, unlike his brother Patrick because “as we all told him – he was a useless footballer” but “let’s just say he found his calling…it took him a while”.
“He wouldn’t even go to watch us playing. Now look at what he is; a massive Madden club man and Armagh fan. He went from not going to club matches, to becoming the PRO, then secretary and had ambitions to be our next chairman.
“Then, as a Grimley, you all know we are quiet and refined, so for all you to hear Patrick commentating at the football matches, I’m sure you’re all shocked! What a brilliant job he was doing with that as well.”
Liam spoke of Patrick’s love for his job at Bar One Racing but admitted his older brother, who was club secretary, probably spent more time doing work for Madden than he did for what he was actually getting paid to do.
“Patrick, you lived a life of 40 years,” he concluded. “You fitted so much into that short time and we maybe didn’t say it often enough, but we loved you as much as you loved us. Ciera, Tadgh, Mya and Cadhla, we promise to look after you and keep your daddy’s legacy alive. You are a son, a brother, a husband, a daddy and a friend. You are a big man with a big heart. May he rest in peace.”
Patrick’s sister-in-law, Sarah-Jean McCombe bravely took to the pulpit to read a goodbye from her own sister – and Patrick’s wife – Ciera.
Fighting back the tears, she read: “I never got the chance to say I love you and I never got the chance to say I’ll miss you. No one has told me that you’re gone and it will hurt that I never said goodbye.
“I will keep with me the good times that we shared and I know every day how much you cared. I will fight hard to stay strong for our kids and we will one day laugh at all the silly things that you did.
“I will hold you in my heart forever as you look down on us from above. I wish I could give you one last hug and I would whisper a goodbye if I could. Love, your wife, Ciera.”
Fr Sean O’Neill, who celebrated the funeral mass, said Ciera “very much remains in our prayers” as she continues her fight in hospital.
Addressing the family, he said: “We know the loving bond, and the caring bond which Patrick and Ciera shared, always together, and which found such beautiful expression, you their children; Tadgh, Mya and Cadhla.
“All we can say is that your daddy loved you, and you loved him, and he knew that, and still knows that. Just as you are so much a part of his life, that does not end with his death. His spirit will be with you, to guide you in each step of your lives now and into the future.”
“We will never understand the course that this life takes. Patrick certainly spent his all too short time on this earth, reflecting and living all that is good and true in the human heart, the human spirit.
“Many experienced this in so many ways, seen and unseen, his good humour endeared him to all who came into contact with him and we just cling to the fact that Patrick will not leave us now to our own devices. His guiding hand and his gifts will continue to keep us on the right path and keep us right.”
Patrick was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery. May he Rest in Peace.