The funeral of Jonathan Gribben of Castlewellan Road Cabra took place yesterday at St Mary’s Church in Cabra. He is survived by his parents Eamon and Majella and his brother Declan.
Jonathan was a passenger in a single vehicle collision, which occurred near Kilcoo on Castlewellan Road in Co Down in the early hours of Friday.
Yesterday, the mourners placed a series of objects in front of the altar of the chapel to signify the different aspects of the short life of their loved one.
There was a certificate from Greenmount Agricultural College for the course he took after school, a car, glasses, a soccer ball, a tractor, potatoes and a potato harvester and a photo of him with his grandmother.
Parish priest Father Charles Byrne noted how popular Jonathan was, as evidenced by the large crowds of people lining the street to welcome his remains at home, visiting the vigil and attending the requiem mass. . At one point, nearly 240 people also watched the funeral via Facebook.
He noted that as a young child Jonathan enjoyed playing with toy tractors and enjoyed helping his father Eamon on the farm as he grew up. There was no doubt that he would go to work with his father growing potatoes. He was also interested in cattle and sheep, said the clerk, and enjoyed “jokes” with neighbors and friends during the potato harvest season.
His other passions were his beloved dogs, Jess and Dixie, and Liverpool FC as well as various Clonduff football teams he played for.
“There was a very special bond between Jonathan and his grandmother, who sadly passed away at the end of March,” Father Byrne said. “He spent time with her every night, drinking tea and eating Rich Tea cookies, sharing with her everything that was happening in the area.”
Father Byrne introduced a gentleman called Bernard who read a poem, ‘Our Jonathan’, in homage to the young farmer who “works hard”. He noted how he sat down at a place at his grandmother’s table “where no one else dared to sit”.
The verse struck such a chord with those in mourning that it received a standing ovation from the packed chapel.