The funeral of 16-year-old Shane Richardson will take place tomorrow (Saturday) in St Columba’s Parish Church in Portadown.
Shane died suddenly on Tuesday in the Brownstown area of Portadown.
He was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead.
There has been an outpouring of sympathy and shock following the death of the Year 12 Craigavon Senior High School pupil.
A JustGiving page has also been set up, at the family’s request, to raise money to support the work of Edgarstown Residents’ Association which had worked closely With Shane in recent months.
Phyllis Abraham, chairperson of the association, said Shane had done a work placement with the group and described him as “a great child who was very quiet and got on with his work with absolutely no problems”.
Shane had also completed a number of personal development training courses, taken by youth leader Nigel Duke, who got to know him very well.
Said Phyllis, “On behalf of everyone at the centre, I would like to extend our condolences to the entire family circle.”
The family has asked that donations in lieu of flowers go to Edgarstown Residents’ Association (Youth Department).
Portadown YMCA manager Darryn Causby, who knew Shane when he attended the youth club a number of years ago, said, “The aim is to set up Shane’s Project, though the residents’ association, which will provide support and information to young people and help them make better informed choices.
“All money raised will go directly to providing information and support for young people regarding a number of community issues.”
He added, “Shane’s family have been devastated by their loss and hope that no one else has to go through what they are going through. They hope that this money will ensure that young people are mentored, supported and educated so that they can make better informed life choices.”
Councillor Causby said the family had “been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support”.
The schoolboy was in the same friendship group as 15-year-old Caitlin White (Shortland), who died on May 20 after collapsing in Corcrain woodlands.
At the time, police said they were investigating a possible link to drugs. Three men remain on police bail.
Just this week, a resident of Churchill Park in the town said he feared a child or young person was going to die following numerous incidences of drug-taking close to his home.
Upper Bann MLA Jonathan Buckley said his thoughts and prayers were with the 16-year-old’s family and friends. “It is deeply shocking and sad for all those who knew him.
“It is a dark time for the community of Portadown as it mourns the loss of yet another young life.”
His colleague, Councillor Louise Templeton, said she was “devastated” for the teenager’s family and friends.
Campbell Best of the Y-Zone said he was saddened at the latest tragedy, adding, “This is a young man who has lost his life.”
His group conducts outreach work with young people in the Corcrain area and has been continuing to do so every week since Caitlin’s death.
Craigavon Senior High School principal Paula Downing said, “Our entire school community is deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of one of our Year 12 pupils. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.
“The school has put arrangements in place to ensure that specialist support is available to help pupils come to terms with this tragic loss. We are making every effort to ensure that they are fully supported.”
UKIP councillor David Jones passed on his and his party’s sympathy to the teenager’s family and friends.
He said, “We are all totally shocked to hear of the passing of one so young especially as it follows the recent deaths of other young people in the area. I know the local community will pull together to help comfort the family at this very sad time. We most do all we can to assist the young people affected by this event at this time.”
Police have said they are investigating the circumstances of the death. A postmortem was due to take place yesterday (Thursday).
Shane was the son of Emma and Stephen and brother of Holly.
The funeral service will take place at 1.30, followed by interment in Kernan Cemetery.