Priest at funeral of man who died on M1 urges broken-hearted to reach out for help

A priest at the funeral of a man killed on the M1 has urged those troubled and in grief to seek counselling.

Saturday, 4th August 2018, 1:07 pm
Updated Friday, 31st August 2018, 5:15 pm
Church Steeple and Cross

John Watts died on Wednesday after a collision with a lorry on the M1.

Canon Liam Stevenson told the congregation at Requiem Mass in St Peter’s Church this morning that he had witnessed first hand the grief and shock as the 29-year-old’s body was returned to his Kiln Lodge home in Lurgan.

The priest said John’s family had requested that people donate to PIPS (Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm) rather than bringing flowers.

©Photo by Tonypixnews, 1st Augustl 2018. A police screen hides the scene of aserious accident on the Belfast bound lane of the M1 on Wednesday afternoon which closed the motorway for some tim between Moira and Lurgan. Photo by TONY HENDRON/Tonpixnews.

“I would ask anyone troubled today to seek counselling from PIPS or other organisations. I would encourage people to talk. It is good to talk and share. I want everyone to support one another in the days and weeks ahead,” said Canon Stevenson.

He said John had enjoyed life and had many interests including football and golf - he had recently joined Lurgan Golf Club.

He also enjoyed cooking and music and, with his father Paul, had made his own electric guitar.

Canon Stevenson said John loved Indie and Folk music and was never happier when with the people he loved.

A former pupil at St Joseph’s and St Peter’s Primary Schools, John attended St Paul’s Junior High School and St Michael’s Grammar School.

He graduated in bio-medical engineering at the University of Ulster before taking a Master degree molecular biology and biotechnology at Queen’s University, Belfast.

John had worked as a clinical conduct technician at the Belfast branch of international research firm Celerion which conducts clinical research studies for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

John also worked in a restaurant and more recently at Lurgan and Portadown Health Centres as a physiotherapist.

With his father Paul and brother David, John was an experienced sailor regularly sailing on Lough Neagh from their base at Kinnego Marina.

Canon Stevenson said with all the family sailing trips there was a ‘strong bond’ between father and sons and between brothers. “They spent quality time together on Lough Neagh.

Following Requiem Mass this morning, John was buried at St Colman’s Cemetery in Lurgan.

John is survived by his mother Dolores, father Paul, brother David and wide family circle.