The father of one of the north coast’s most popular musicians has described him as a wonderful son who was “so very, very affectionately loved by so many.”
Talented base guitarist Anthony ‘Pip’ Loughrey (46) died suddenly at his Agherton Drive home on Thursday evening - a day before his band, The Groove Robbers, were due to play at his sister Christina’s wedding.
Instead of celebrating that happy occasion the family gathered at St Mary’s Star of the Sea - where the wedding was due to take place - for his funeral on Monday morning.
Pip’s father, Bernard, himself a well known musician, said it was believed that his son died from a heart attack.
“The coroner said he had a heart condition, no one knew about that, not even himself.
“We are all in shock but all of the people who have called at the house over the weekend have given us tremendous strength.
“Ironically the band was due to play a fundraiser for Chest Heart and Stroke at the Lodge Hotel this Saturday night.”
Bernard said he and his wife Carol were “very, very proud” of Pip - and that he had told him so very recently.
“He was very quiet, modest and unassuming. What has struck us over the past few days is how very, very affectionately loved he was.
“So many people have told us lovely stories about him and how he touched their lives. And he had a quiet but strong Christian faith.”
And one of Pip’s last acts of kindness was to pick up his brother Aaron - who was coming home from Manchester for the wedding - from the airport, as a favour to his dad.
“He was just so willing to help when he could, that’s just what he was like,” said his father.
Bernard said that Pip had been diagnosed with cancer when he was in his twenties - but had beaten the disease.
“He was 25 when he got Hodgkin’s but he managed to beat it. He never took anything for granted.”
Pip was educated at St John’s and St Colum’s primary schools and later attended St Joseph’s High School in Coleraine.
He went on to study horticulture at Greenmount College and later at Writtle College in Essex.
But music was his lifelong love and he played in many celebrated north coast bands including Green Grass, Sour Milk Supper and latterly The Groove Robbers, establishing many fantastic friendships through music over the years.
His funeral took place from his parents’ home at Newlands Crescent in Portstewart on Monday morning followed by requiem mass at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Church. He was buried afterwards in Agherton Cemetery. Pip is survived by his parents Bernard and Carol, brothers Bryan and Aaron and sisters Jacqueline, Grace and Christina.