Mark Magee’s daughter Lauren fought back tears as she paid tribute to her daddy at his funeral this morning.
At St Peter’s Church in Lurgan, hundreds gathered to say farewell to the popular darts player.
Mark died suddenly on Friday morning, aged just 45 years old.
His son Jack and daughter bravely took to the lecturn and paid tribute to their dad.
Lauren said they would always remember ‘his smile and his caring heart’.
“We will remember him being there for mum and us through the good and bad times,” she said.
Priest Fr Brian Fitzpatrick said the community was saddened and shocked to hear on Friday morning about Mark’s passing.
He said Mark had been out with his friends from Craigavon Darts Club on Thursday night for a few games. “Little did they know when they would be saying goodbye for the last time.
“His death has caused widespread shock and sadness.
“His family was his love and priority his whole life. As the eldest his brothers and sisters looked up to him.
“He had a strong work ethic, often working long hours as a painter and decorator to support his family,” said Fr Fitzpatrick.
“Mark was no stanger to the kitchen and regularly cooked up a roast dinner with all the trimmings. He had a great passion for food but it was doubtful there were any scraps for Charlie the dog.
“He idolised his children Lauren and Jack and he was so proud of them,” he said, adding that he meant the world to Tracey, his long-term partner.
He recognised the pain the family are feeling but said that had Mark not been deeply loved their hearts would not be breaking.
Fr Fitzpatrick spoke of Mark’s honesty and integrity and how he used his words carefully.
He said Mark was valued for his company, his wit and one-liners.
As well as darts, Mark enjoyed the odd game of golf ‘but mostly for the 19th hole’ said Fr Fitzpatrick.
“He achieved one of his ambitions by meeting darts champion Gary Anderson last Autumn.
“He was a good friend, one who could be trusted not to run friends down behind their back and he wasn’t into attention seeking.
“His life was family, friends, darts and food. He was a champion on the darts community but king to his family and friends.”
Such was his standing in the darts community, the NI Darts Community held a minute’s silence for the popular thrower at the weekend.
Mark was a big man, a gentle man, a gentle giant some would say but there was no nonense when it came to the dartboard.#
He had an eye for the target and was bullesye to all who knew him.
Mark had character, a charm, a smile that would melt his most aggressive opponnents.
His stature in the Lurgan and Craigavon and beyond commmunity is. without doubt, high given the huge respect shown to him after his sudden death.
He was an interesting character who lived life to the full and always with great style and good grace.
His team Craigavon Darts Club said: “The committee and members of the Craigavon district darts league would like to send their prayers and thoughts to the entire Magee family circle on the sudden passing of our dear friend and league member Mark Magee. He will be forever in our thoughts and dearly missed RIP Mark.”
They also thanked the NIDO (Northern Ireland Darts Organisation) for holding a minutes silence for the popular player.
Many tributes were posted on social media.
Clann Eireann, Lurgan posted on Facebook: “It is with great sadness and anguish that we learn of the passing of Mark Magee, an integral and ever-present member of the Clann Eireann Darts team.
“Mark’s incredible enthusiasm for the team and his teammates is only surpassed by the high regard he was held in, within the wider club and Darts League.
“A teammate, a clubman and a friend that will be sorely missed by all.
“Our condolences to Tracy, Jack and Lauren as well as Gerard, Jennifer, Lynn, Michelle and Chris at this sad time. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”
The Lurgan Mechanics Institute Darts Team also paid their respects.#
The Stute Darts Lurgan post said: “The Mechanics Institute Darts Team would like to pass on its condolences to the family, friends and team mates of Mark Magee at this sad and difficult time. A Gentleman with always a smile on his face. RIP Mark.”
The INF Foresters Lurgan said: “The committee and members of the INF Lurgan would like to send their prayers and thoughts to the entire Magee family circle on the sudden passing of our dear friend and member Mark Magee He will be forever in our thoughts and dearly missed. RIP Mark.”
Mark was the dearly beloved partner of Tracy and loving daddy of Lauren and Jack, and much loved son of Gerard and Jenny and beloved brother of Lynn, Michelle and Chris.
His funeral is on Monday at 9.45am from his late residence at 5 Allengrove to St Peter’s Church for 10.30am Requiem Mass. Interment afterwards in St Colman’s Cemetery.
His passing is very deeply regretted by his loving partner, daughter, son, father, mother, sisters, brother and family circle.