HUNDREDS of mourners at the funeral of Nial Hamilton heard how the fireman ‘to his core’ dedicated his life as a “loving husband and father” to his wife and two young sons.
Fire officers joined other emergency service personnel and Mr Hamilton’s family and friends at St Michael’s Parish Church, Trory, for the funeral of the 44-year-old who died after collapsing while on duty in Lurgan on Monday night of last week.
Police outriders and two fire appliances led the cortege from the Hamilton family home at Rossole Road in Enniskillen to the church where he married his wife, Ruth just eight years ago.
Fire service colleagues formed a guard of honour with pallbearers, a piper and bugler lining out to pay their respects to their “friend, colleague and comrade”.
Mr Hamilton’s wife and two sons, six-year-old Alex and four-year-old Rory, his parents Eric and Vera, and sisters, Pamela, Averil and Jennifer, followed closely behind the coffin which was draped in the Northern Ireland Fire Service flag.
Southern Area commander. John Denvir led the tributes before the Fireman’s Prayer was read by crew commander, Liam Hanna.
In his address to the 400 mourners, the Reverend Mark Watson said: “I wish to begin today’s homily by paying tribute to Nial’s colleagues of White Watch for their courage, compassion and comradeship for the family these past few days.
“My thanks also for your diligence in preparation for today’s service. Ruth has asked that those who tried to restart Nial’s heart at the fire site, those in the ambulance service and at Craigavon Area Hospital be thanked for your devotion to Nial in his last moments on earth.”
He profiled Nial’s family background and early education, and how, after attending Jones Memorial and Portora Royal school, he joined the Fire Service at 18, serving in Belfast before moving to Lurgan.
Reverend Watson addressed his life as a family man, and recalled how Mr Hamilton met his future wife at a fancy dress party where he dressed up as Kojak.
And, how in 2006, the couple married at St Michael’s Church and lived for a while in the parish at Jubilee Hill before moving to Rossole Road.
The minister went on to describe his ‘honour’ in baptising both of Nial’s sons, and their father’s generous nature.
“Nial was a sports fan and active in helping others through charity work and in the road rescue team. He was a member of the Masonic Order in Enniskillen.
“Most of all, he was a loving husband and father, son and brother. He was a dedicated fireman indeed, I would say he was a fireman to his core.”
A postmortem examination into Mr Hamilton’s death was carried out last Tuesday, but the results were found to be inconclusive.
Further tests will be carried out.
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