Community pays tribute to ‘a great man’ following sudden passing of local school teacher
Updated: Feb 14
Tributes continue to be paid to a much respected local school teacher and keen sportsman who sadly passed away suddenly on Friday, February 10th.
Mr Aidan Walsh, a popular PE teacher at St Patrick's College, Ballymena, was at work when he took unwell just before 3pm on Friday afternoon.
Following a 999 call, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) despatched one Ambulance, one Rapid Response Paramedic, and Charity Air Ambulance with HEMS on board, who rushed to the scene of the incident. However it is understood despite the crews best efforts, the teacher sadly died.
News of Mr Walsh's sudden passing was shared by staff from St Patrick's College, who said:
"It is with great sadness that we share this news. Our cherished friend and colleague Aidan Walsh passed away on Friday 10th February. This news has come as a great shock to all of us at St. Patrick’s where Aidan taught for over 12 years.
"Aidan will be greatly missed within St. Patrick’s and the whole school community. We were blessed to have had Aidan in our lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with Aidan's wife and family. May he Rest In Peace."
Coming to terms with the sudden passing of a much loved colleague and teacher, the school hosted a prayer service in the school gym today, Monday 13th February, led by Fr McGinnity.
The school has also opened a book of condolence until 2pm today saying: "All students, parents and members of our parish community are welcome to come and sign a book of condolence for our cherished friend, colleague and teacher Aidan Walsh".
Tributes have been paid from colleagues, students, and friends over the weekend. A number of local sports clubs also expressed their sympathies.
A spokesperson for Ballymena Basketball Club said:
"Ballymena Basketball Club is deeply saddened to hear the news that Aidan Walsh has passed away.
"Aidan taught a lot of players at the club at St Patrick’s College as well as playing Gaelic with a few of us. We have nothing but good things to say about Aidan as a teammate, teacher and friend.
"Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time".
Aidan was a keen sportsman who enjoyed the Gaelic games. A spokesperson for All Saints GAC paid tribute saying:
"It has been with a sense of deep shock and immense sadness that we learned of the death of our former player Aidan Walsh on Friday.
"Aidan was a fantastic underage star for All Saints. He was instrumental in our club winning its first underage silverware in many years when, along with his twin brother Tiernan, he led our under 14 footballers to the South West championship, achieved under the coaching of Brian Loughran and his loving father and long time committee member, Michael.
"Aidan was also a skillful hurler for All Saints and won underage hurler of the year under the tutelage of coach, Owen Elliot.
"Playing in All Saints teams alongside his brothers Fintan and Tiernan these were extremely proud days for his mother Maria and father Michael who rarely missed a game supporting on the sideline.
"A great man, talented player and beloved teammate who never missed a training session, complained, or challenged a manager or referee. He had a love for the game, his team mates and All Saints GAC.
"The deepest sympathies of all at All Saints go to his wife Anne, his children Cain and Caitlin, his mother and father Michael and Maria and his siblings Tiernan, Fintan and Aisling.
"Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam."
Aidan will be laid to rest on Wednesday, February 15th. The cortège will be passing the school gates at approximately 11am on Wednesday 15th February to allow students, parents and the parish community to pay their respects.
The funeral notice from WJ McDonnell & Sons can be read below:
Walsh (Antrim / Ballymena) 10th February 2023 (Suddenly) Aidan RIP, beloved husband of Anne (née O’Kane), much loved father of Cian and Caitlin, cherished son of Michael and Maria, loving twin brother of Tiernan, Fintan and Aisling.
Aidan’s remains will leave his parent’s residence 4 Craigadoo Road, Ballymena, BT42 4RS on Wednesday 15th February at 11am for 12 noon Requiem Mass in St Comgall’s Church, Antrim, (which can be viewed via the parish webcam), burial immediately afterwards in Belmont Cemetery.
Deeply regretted by his sorrowing wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brothers, sister, father in law Kieran, mother in law Una and wider family circle. St. Comgall Pray for him.
Family flowers only please donations in lieu if desired to “Air Ambulance NI” c/o the family.
Aidan’s wake will officially begin at his parent’s residence 4 Craigadoo Road, Ballymena, BT42 4RS on Monday 13th February at 12noon.
NB: Family time requested please between 10pm and 12noon.