The boss of a young Ballymoney lad who lost his life in a traffic accident has paid tribute to him saying ‘he was one of the best’.
Craig McCook (19) from Liscolman died as a result of his injuries sustained in a road traffic collision in Coleraine last month.
His funeral was held last Wednesday at Ramoan Parish Church followed by his burial Billy Parish Churchyard.
Hundreds of his friends attended the service in a convey of cars as a mark of respect for his passion and love of motors.
Paying tribute to a ‘valued employee’, Sean McKay from McKay’s Butcher’s Shop in Ballycastle explained: “Craig worked for us for nearly two years coming and during that time he really was a truly valued member of the team.
“Craig was one of the best. He was always very pleasant and well thought of by staff and customers alike. He always had a smile on his face and we could have a laugh and joke with him.
“Losing him is hard to describe - it’s left a void that will never be replaced.
“The staff are totally devastated and our customers are extremely sad, they keep calling into the shop to express their sorrow. It’s a young life just gone in a flash - we just can’t take it in. The sad part is that he’s not coming back to us and we’ll never get over that.”
Rev John Anderson, minister of Billy Parish, Church of Ireland said: “Craig was a very likeable and personal young fellow. I don’t think you could find anybody who had a bad word to say about him.”
Much-loved son of Ballymoney postman Jeremy McCook and his wife Alexia, Craig was a past pupil of Ballycastle High School.
Ballycastle High School Principal Ian Williamson also paid tribute to ‘a kind hearted, respectful and civil young man’.
He added: “It was with great sadness that the staff, Board of Governors and pupils of Ballycastle High School learned of Craig McCook’s passing as a result of injuries sustained in a road traffic accident. Craig finished his studies in Ballycastle High in 2011 and both Craig and his brother Dwayne were highly regarded pupils of the school.
“Staff have fond memories of a kind hearted, respectful and civil young man. Craig who was a role model to many in the way he approached school life. In many ways, Craig was very mature in how he approached school. “He wanted to make the most of the opportunities offered, to help prepare him for the challenges of adult and working life.
“People were important to Craig and he invested time in developing friendships and treated others around him with great respect. Craig was someone who worked to nurture friendships and good relationships with other pupils and teachers alike. He had an interest in hockey when in the junior school and as a teenager, like many young people his age, he was interested in computers and games.
“This is a tragic loss to Craig’s immediate family and to cousins and other extended relatives who still attend or have a close association with Ballycastle High School. The number of past and present pupils, who were in attendance at Craig’s funeral, was testament to the popularity of the young man.
“As a school Principal and as a father of teenage children, I am very aware of the shock waves that this sad incident has sent throughout the youth and wider communities of Ballycastle and Ballymoney. My thoughts are with all concerned in what has been a total tragedy.”
Hundreds of messages and tributes have also been posted on Craig’s Facebook site as his friends come to terms with the tragic loss.