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Principal's Tribute To `Fine Young Man'

`We can't stand in his family's shoes, but we can empathise with them in their hour of loss'

by MARY MAGEE

James Magee's mother Freda, father Bawn, twin sister Sarah and younger sister Rachel make their way into Dromore Cathedral for the funeral on Wednesday.James Magee.THE principal of Friends School has paid a glowing tribute to former pupil James Magee, who was killed with three of his police colleagues in a road accident near Warrenpoint in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Mrs Elizabeth Dickson said James was 'a fine young man' who had attended the school with twin sister Sarah, from 1992 to 1999.

Mrs Dickson said: "James was a fine young man and was highly thought of by all who knew him. He is remembered by his teachers as someone who was fully involved in our school community.

'A keen musician, he played the trumpet in the School orchestra and sang in the choir. James worked hard, upheld high standards and was always willing to be of service to others. He was an example to all."

The 27 year old policeman was killed alongside three other police officers when their vehicle hit a wall and went on fire on the Moygannon Bridge near Warrenpoint as they went to the assistance of a colleague.

Constable Magee was originally from Dromore but had moved to Newcastle. He lost his life along with his colleagues Kevin Gorman from Drumaness and Declan Green and Kenny Irvine who were both from Kilkeel. Their Mitsubishi Shogun 4x4 struck a wall and caught fire as they responded to a call for assistance in Rostrevor.

Constable Magee's parents are Dromore couple Bawn and Freda Magee. Mrs Magee is a former teacher in Dromore High School. He joined the PSNI three years ago and was believed to be in line for promotion.

Dromore HS Principal Mr. John Wilkinson said: "Dromore High School was deeply saddened at the tragic loss of James.

"We can't stand in his family's shoes but we can empathise with them in their hour of loss." Assistant Chief Constable Judith Gillespie said her "heart went

out" to all the families who had lost loved ones as the result of the recent road crashes.

She said speculation about the cause of the crash which killed the four policemen was unhelpful at this stage.

"It is devastating for their families and our thoughts and prayers are with the families at this time," she said.

The funeral of James Magee at Dromore Cathedral on Wednesday.

The funeral of James Magee at Dromore Cathedral on Wednesday.

`We must thank God for the character of the life he lived'

CONSTABLE Magee's funeral took place at Dromore Cathedral on Wednesday.

The Very Rev Stephen Lowry told hundreds of mourners it had been a "privilege" to know him.

The Dean of Dromore said: "I need to begin my tribute to James with the phrase 'James Magee was' three words which fill our hearts with heaviness today, yet words which also preface our brief celebration of his young life, his fine character and his quiet faith.

"People speak of his good manners, his endless acts of kindness and his able mind. His colleagues speak of his willingness and enthusiasm for his work. His family speak of his utter loveliness as a son and brother.

"His death has brought to a sudden end many of the hopes that we had for him but it has brought no shame for he died on duty in the prime of life, with everything to live for. We cannot thank God for the manner of the death he died but we must thank Him for the character of the life he lived."

Dean Lowry added that Constable Magee "continued to seek to improve his qualifications and had recently sat and passed the exams to get into CID, his goal".

"His parents were told, 'James was exactly the sort of person we wanted'," he said.

"People speak of his good manners, his endless acts of kindness, and his able mind. His colleagues speak of his willingness and enthusiasm for his work. His family speak of his utter loveliness as a son and brother. I share your admiration of James, and with the many gathered here today, offer thanks to God for the privilege of knowing him throughout my time here, and the joy of seeing a young man living life to the full with love and respect for God, for his parents, and for his many friends."

Constable Magee is survived by his mother and father, Freda and Bawn, his twin sister, Sarah and his younger sister, Rachel.

PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, and ACC for Rural region Judith Gillespie were among senior police members who attended the funeral along with local politicians.

mary.magee@jpress.co.uk

Ulster Star
28/11/2008