Cork boy who was laid to rest in honorary Garda uniform to be celebrated by Little Blue Heroes fundraiser

The 14-year-old, who was born with Down Syndrome and major heart problems passed away over 10 months ago
Cork boy who was laid to rest in honorary Garda uniform to be celebrated by Little Blue Heroes fundraiser

Sean Tyrrell with his dad Brendan in a Garda jeep after becoming an Honorary Garda following a very special driveby by members of the Gardai, Fire Brigade, Civil Defence and National Ambulance Service in 2021. Pic: Larry Cummins

A CORK boy who was laid to rest in the honorary Garda uniform he never got to wear is to be celebrated with a fitting tribute less than a year after his death.

Brendan Tyrrell from Blackrock spoke about his late son Seán with the fondness of any proud dad. He recalled how they had planned to leave hospital in a squad car organised by members of Cork’s Garda Síochána. However, it wasn’t meant to be and the 14-year-old, who was born with Down Syndrome and major heart problems, died just weeks later.

More than 10 months later, devoted dad Brendan is organising a fundraiser for the Little Blue Heroes initiative which helped Seán pursue his dream of becoming an honorary Garda. 

The head shave event will take place at the Maple Leaf Bar in Blackrock Village this Saturday at 8pm. Around 14 people have already signed up to have their legs, heads, beards and moustaches shaved or waxed for causes that were close to the late Seán’s heart. 

Funds from the event will be split between the Little Blue Heroes and the Puffin Ward at Cork University Hospital where Seán was looked after.

Brendan opened up about his reasons behind the fundraiser.

“I would really like to give other children the chance that Seán had and also give back to the staff of the hospital who helped him,” he said. 

“The Puffin ward did fantastic things for Seán. The nurses and doctors were second to none. Really and truly I’ve no regrets. They did everything to save the child but he just couldn’t fight anymore.”

Community Garda Jimmy Smiddy and his colleagues at Blackrock Garda Station were dear friends of Seán.

“The day Seán passed away was the day he got his honorary uniform”, Brendan recalled. 

Sean met Garda dog REX and Garda Pat Harrington of the Garda Dog Unit, after becoming an Honorary Garda in 2021 following a very special driveby by members of the Gardai, Fire Brigade, Civil Defence and National Ambulance Service. Sean was delighted to become a Little Blue Hero. Pic: Larry Cummins
Sean met Garda dog REX and Garda Pat Harrington of the Garda Dog Unit, after becoming an Honorary Garda in 2021 following a very special driveby by members of the Gardai, Fire Brigade, Civil Defence and National Ambulance Service. Sean was delighted to become a Little Blue Hero. Pic: Larry Cummins

“I rang the Garda station and asked if we could have it for the funeral. They said it would be an honour. The uniform was brought to Coburg Street by one of the Gardaí for him to be laid out in. It looked so lovely on him. He had everything from the torch right down to his Garda number, Seán Tyrrell 129. 

”The support for Seán didn’t stop there.

“He had a Garda escort to the church and cemetery”, he said. 

“They played a really lovely role.” 

Brendan derives comfort from the fact that Seán is now with his mother and uncle.

“My brother, who was with me the day Seán passed away, developed stage four cancer and died just six weeks after Seán. Seán’s mother, Bernadette, died in 2010 and I pray every day that they are finally together.” 

The Cork man is proud of his son’s legacy.

“He made such an impact on everybody he met. I’m just glad I have all the videos so I don’t just remember what he looked like, I can hear his voice as well."

Brendan is grateful to Gardaí in Blackrock for the memories they made for Seán.

In 2021 Gardaí in Blackrock surprised him with a drive-by celebration in his honour.

They were joined by Garda dogs and a convoy of other emergency services as part of the gesture from Gardaí to acknowledge Sean’s bravery.

Seán’s sisters Denise (32) and Sinead (23) will be presented on the night to support the cause. His brother Mark has even promised to have his legs waxed at the event.

Anyone unable to make the Blackrock event can contribute to the Go Fund Me page by logging on to  this link .

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