On 25th July our National PRO Terry Cummins received a phone call from Sean Lyons telling him about the passing of his dad Liam, our esteemed colleague. Sean could not give a date for the funeral in Castleford, Leeds, but indicated it would take a few weeks to organise.
Liam was a kind, generous gentleman with a great sense of humour who loved dancing and the craic. Liam joined the Irish Naval Reserves ( An Slua Muiri) in the early 50's; by coincidence, another Lyons (Con) joined on the same night with just one number separating them. For many years Liam (with his late wife, Brenda) travelled from Leeds many, many times to join us for various get-togethers and celebrations
On 2nd August Sean informed us that Liam's funeral would take place on the 18th at 1030am in Castleford, Leeds. I immediately offered to represent the Irish Naval Association at the funeral. This was agreed unanimously by all the Branches and it was decided that my wife Bernie and myself would travel to Leeds on 18th to represent the INA at Liam's funeral. We had a very early start as the Ryanair flight departed at 07.30 and we had to be at the Airport 2-3 hours beforehand! We were very lucky with the Security queue in Dublin; because I was in uniform, a retired Commandant who was on duty brought us through the VIP Section. As is fairly common with Ryanair, our flight was delayed for almost an hour. Arriving in Leeds an hour later than planned, we got a taxi from the airport to Liam's house and arrived just as the cars were departing for the Church. The priest had already objected to the family about having the Irish flag on the coffin during the service but we put the flag on for the last hymn and blessing, leaving the church and to the local cemetery. Liam is interred with his late wife, Brenda.
We met a very good friend of Liam's who was co-celebrating the funeral ceremony - Canon Sean Durcan, originally from Sligo, had been the Parish Priest in Castleford for over 25 years and retired 5 years ago. He told us a little about Liam and how he was so involved in the Church and the Parish; about how Liam and some other volunteers took down the false ceiling in the church to expose the lovely timbers of the vaulted ceiling. Liam was also responsible for changing all the doors in the church so that they opened outwards for safety. He also carved a Shamrock on the inside of the main door. After the ceremony and burial, we were invited back to the Magnet Hotel for a buffet lunch before heading back to Leeds/Bradford airport for our flight home. Liam's children - Fiona, Declan and Sean - were very appreciative of myself and Bernie travelling to the funeral and they asked us to pass on their thanks to all members of the INA for their support. They are a lovely family and a credit to Liam & Brenda RIP.