THE parents of the young Coleraine man who was found dead in a derelict hotel building after being missing for three days have described their son as “a bright star” and a “lovely wee man”.
The tribute, by Christopher and Teresa, Connor was delivered by Rev Donard Collins during Christopher Connor’s funeral in Killowen Parish Church on Friday after noon.
Mr Connor was found dead last Monday in the derelict Montague Hotel in Portstewart.
He last seen in the early hours of Sunday after a night out with a friend. His family and friends had started to leave posters in clubs and pubs in the area appealing for information about him – before his body was located.
Speaking to a packed Killowen Church on Friday, Rev Collins said that Christopher’s death had been an “absolute shock to neighbours, playground chums, school mates,” teenage and older friends, “dear family, workmates, each and every person who today gives thanks for one so loved and treasured.”
He said messages of sympathy had been conveyed by Facebook, Twitter and text: “A prayer card said all: ‘a great friend who will be sadly missed’”.
But the minister said the best tributes to Christopher came from his parents: “Our son was such a lovely wee man. He shone so brightly. His infectious smile lit up every room. A smile for everyone and never passed anyone.
And from his father Christopher: “I am so proud of my lovely wee man. A man any father would have been very very proud of.
“I was immensely proud of Christopher - this does not do justice to the giant of a man he was. He will be sorely missed. He was such a bright star that God is now wearing sunglasses!”
Rev Collins recalled a child called ‘Baby Cakes’ , “who always got everything he asked for” and was named affectionately ‘Charley-Barley’ for his distinctive crop of hair.
He said that although Christopher had gone missing for a time he “was known to God,” and that after a frenzied loss there was a measure of comfort in that, later he was found.
“Flowers mark where he fell, but love keeps him in many hearts. To parents, Christopher, Teresa and sister Laura, God’s peace and mercy bless you from us all.
“You may have searched or panicked, cried, feared wept or hugged – Know one thing - That he was not alone, not in his life or at his last. (Rom. 14:7).
“For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live we live to the Lord and if we die we die to the Lord. Whether we live or die we belong to the Lord.”
Referring to the many family photos of a happy Christopher, Rev Collins describing him as full of fun and who “lived life to the full”.
He added: “It was here, but five years ago, in company of loved ones - Chris knelt to confirm a faith in Jesus. Words then mean so much now: “The love of the Lord Jesus draw you to Himself.
“Don’t minimize or belittle those prayers, examples or influences on a young life. For the years that they are given to us, let us be of Christ to them.
Christ said ‘Do not fear, I will never leave nor forsake you I am with you always, right to the last.
We part to rest our loved one with this farewell;
“Let’s raise our hands to absent friends. For every road must end. You’ll always be there in our hearts, our special absent friend.”
Earlier in the week Rev Collins described Christopher as a “very industrious young man”.
“He worked in three jobs, the main one being landscape gardening, another job in Fairleys bar, and the last with food.
“He was a good fella, a very industrious young man.”
Mr Connor is survived by his parents Christopher and Teresa, sister Laura, her fiance David and nephew Charlie.
He was buried after the service in the churchyard at Killowen Parish Church.