A PICTURE of a strikingly handsome Cameron Blair emblazoned the cover of his funeral service booklet as his loved ones gathered at St Peter’s Church in Bandon today to celebrate a young life cut so cruelly short.
Reverend Anne Skuse, chaplain of Bandon Grammar, said that the generous boy she knew was the direct product of the nurturing of his parents, Noel and Kathy.
The loving couple supported the boy with “the cheeky grin that got him in and out of trouble” every step along the way of his short life.
“Cameron had within his soul a deep kindness and care for others; a generosity of spirit that shone so bright this week as so many people, both young and old, recalled small acts of loving kindness that he had shown to them; acts of kindness that were done quietly, without wishing to draw any attention to himself,” she said.
The service was punctuated by moments of unbearable poignancy. Orla Fogarty and Niall Moynihan performed an emotional version of Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing At All because Kathy liked to sing it to a young Cameron.
Quoting WH Auden, Kathy said Cameron was her “north, her south, her east and her west’ and his father Noel paid tribute to his beloved “buddy”.
“Cameron, my darling son,” he said. “When you were a small boy I used to call you my ‘buddy’. You grew up to be a fine young man. I was so proud to be your father.
“You lived life to the full. You were a loyal friend, a protective brother and a beautiful boy. You were unique and nothing can replace you.”
Mourners were told of great family adventures to Dubai, the U.S, Legoland and China, with the Blair family fridge heaving down with travel magnets which are now mementoes of happier times.
St Peter’s Church is no doubt a place of fond memories for the Blair family. Cameron made his confirmation there in 2013 in a service celebrated by Reverend Bishop Paul Colton.
The Bishop said they could never have remotely imagined the devastation that lay ahead for the Blair family. Nor could he have foreseen that the next time that he would be at an altar with Cameron was at the young man’s funeral service.
Cameron’s body had been reposing at his home near the village of Ballinascarty in West Cork since he was returned to his family on Friday. Huge crowds paid their respects over the weekend at the family home.
Cameron’s family said their private farewells and then what felt like the whole community turned out to escort him on his final journey to his place of rest in Kilbeg cemetery.
Teenagers from Hamilton High School, Bandon Grammar School and his friends in the community and from CIT lined the route from his home to the church.
Despite the tragedy of his death, Reverend Skuse said the Blair family were keen to place the celebration of Cameron’s life to the fore at his service.
His younger brother Alan recited a short tribute in poem form. He said that he never thought he would see the day when Cameron wouldn’t be there to show him the way. But he vowed to do his best to carry on in memory of his big brother. “It wouldn’t be your wish for me that I would be forever sad. So I will try to remind myself of the happy times we had.
“Sleep tight, Cam.”