HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a Strabane man who spent much of his life helping ‘hundreds of people on the road to recovery’.
Vincent Sharkey (58), originally from Strabane, died in Ballycastle on Sunday March 14 following an illness.
His funeral was held on Tuesday of last week at St Patrick and St Brigid’s Church in the Ballycastle Parish, and was open to close family only, due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
The Strabane man worked both as a counsellor and as a counselling-service manager helping others with their difficulties.
He was well known throughout Strabane and had been a keen sportsman in his youth with both Strabane Sigersons and Omagh Town.
Mr Sharkey also studied, travelled widely and managed bars before becoming a counsellor and helping with Samaritians.
Despite not being able to have an open wake and funeral, friends and family have been paying tribute to Vincent on a Facebook page, ‘Vincent’s Guest Book’ and many people have recalled him as ‘a gentleman.’
Speaking during funeral mass, Parish priest Fr Daly said, “Vincent went to St Mary’s Boys Primary School where he excelled in sports athletics and football.
“He was involved in the Boys Scouts in Strabane in leadership and development, and at one stage, he came over to Ballycastle as part of the scout unit.
“He worked in the hospitality sector for several years in bars and hotels, before taking on further education and achieved a degree in psychology and studied philosophy and became a counsellor.
“He became a counsellor, a listener, providing people with a opportunity to see and face, not hide and bury their difficulties…
“He was particularly active in the area of addiction and suicidal tenancy, professionally and through the Samaritains and helped hundreds of people on the path to recovery.
“He had a great passion for people, care and generosity towards them.”