Rest in Peace
Billy Cleere, late of 19, Woodlawn, who died in Cornwall, England on February 15, was laid to rest in Bennettsbridge Cemetery on Friday.
He was one of seven children born to Liam and Iris Cleere and his death at the young age of 53 is regretted by all.
The long wait for Billy’s remains to come from Cornwall, came to an end on Thursday evening with one of the largest funerals seen in the area for some time.
A guard of honour comprising Bennettsbridge GAA and Soccer Clubs met the cortege just outside the village and progressed, via Woodlawn Estate, where the hearse stopped outside the family home, to St Bennett’s Church, where the remains were received by Canon Pat Duggan.
The Parish Choir sang during the reception.
Requiem Mass was celebrated by Canon Patrick Duggan who welcomed everybody to the celebration of Billy’s life.
Fr Duggan shared some memories of Billy with the congregation. An important part of his life was his involvement in hurling at local and county level. He was a member of the Bennettsbridge team which won the 1983 Minor Championship and was on the 1984 Kilkenny team which appeared in the All-Ireland.
It was fitting that Bennettsbridge and Kilkenny jerseys lay side by side on the coffin. The attendances at both services included GAA and political representatives, work colleagues extended family and friends, an indication of the high regard in which he and his family are held in the community.
Billy emigrated to England at an early age and eventually settled in Cornwall where he worked as a painting contractor. Ireland was always close to his heart and he regularly brought his children home on holidays.
Fr Duggan offered sympathy to the family on behalf of the parish.
The lessons were read by Jim O’Sullivan (cousin).
Prayers of the Faithful were recited by Ray Cleere (cousin)
The Offertory Gifts reflected some of Billy’s interests and included: A Hurling Ball and Paint Brush, carried by his nephew, Ben; Family Photograph and medals, carried by Tadgh and Niamh (son and daughter); The Water and Wine, carried by Fintan and Ciarán (brother and son); Music throughout the mass was provided by John Maddock and Tony Cleere (brother-in-law and cousin).
Fr Duggan, speaking on behalf of the family, thanked everyone for their participation in the mass, all who attended the funeral services especially those who travelled long distances – some as far afield as Canada.
Special thanks to Billy’s doctors and medical staff who took care of him during his illness and grateful thanks to Roberta, Chandon and children for their care of Billy over the past few months.
Liam’s Mam, Iris would like to thank her family, especially her sister Frances, her sisters-in-law and her friend Bridget Doyle for their support throughout Billy’s illness. The kindness of neighbours and friends has been a great comfort.
Billy is survived by his daughters, Chandon, Niamh and Alannah and sons, Ciarán and Tadgh and wife Roberta.
He is also mourned by his parents Liam and Iris, brothers, Eamonn, Gerry, Mark and Fintan, sisters, Fiona and Jenny, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, extended family, neighbours and friends.
May Billy Rest in Peace.