Road victims Stephen Wilkinson and Steven Sunstrum laid to rest

Stephen Wilkinson
Stephen Wilkinson

The victims of two separate crashes on Northern Ireland’s roads were laid to rest on Wednesday, while a funeral will be held for a third crash victim on Friday.

Co Tyrone man Stephen Wilkinson, a 26-year-old from the Ardboe area, lost his life after being knocked down by a Ford Focus in Cookstown during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Steven Sunstrum.

Steven Sunstrum.

Almost 1,000 mourners packed the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Mullinahoe for his funeral on Wednesday morning, before he was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.

Ardboe Parish Priest, Fr Sean McCartan, paid tribute to Mr Wilkinson’s “generous” nature, describing him as “humble” and “content”.

He told the News Letter: “Stephen was a very carefree sort of a lad. He lived very modestly and he was very content in the world, very at home in himself.

“He was a very talented, very gifted sort of a lad, who was a car mechanic and also a qualified electrician. He had done all the qualifications for quite a number of trades actually, but he was a qualified electrician and he worked as an auto mechanic.

“His family, his parents Christopher and Sharon and his brother Ryan, are a very peaceful kind of a family. There has been an incredible peace that has radiated from them, an unusual calm and peacefulness about them that comes from an inner strength and peace. It is quite remarkable.”

Fr McCartan continued: “He was very modest and very genuine. That’s the way his family are and that’s the way Stephen was as well. He was a very generous lad, very caring of other people.”

A funeral was also held for Steven Sunstrum. The 19-year-old from east Belfast passed away on Saturday, three days after a crash at the junction of the Castlereagh and Upper Knockbreda roads last Wednesday evening.

Mr Sunstrum was from the Cregagh estate in the south-east of the city and was affectionately known as ‘Giggles’ to his friends.

His funeral was held at Roselawn Crematorium at 1pm.

A third funeral will take place on Friday following the death of motorcyclist Neil Stewart in a collision with another vehicle on the main Tandragee to Newry road on Saturday evening.

The father-of-six’s funeral will leave his home in Markethill, Co Armagh at 1pm to Ballenon Reformed Presbyterian Churchyard for interment, followed by a service of thanksgiving.

The number of people to lose their lives on our roads this year now stands at 47.