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School tribute to ‘shining light’ Dylan as funeral details confirmed for tragic teen

"His kindness and personality meant that he was loved and respected by both his teachers and peers; his death leaves a void in our school community."

Dylan Vallely

The funeral will take place on Saturday of the 16-year-old Newtownhamilton boy who has passed away after a road traffic collision three weeks ago.

It comes as tributes continue to pour out for Dylan Vallely, described as a young man who was “so well thought of by all who met him”.

Dylan had been a back seat passenger in a black Volkswagen Golf which was involved in a collision at Camlough on Friday, October 27.

Police have confirmed the death of the 16-year-old, who had been treated in the Royal Victoria Hospital since the collision last month, where he sadly passed away on Tuesday evening.

St Joseph’s High School in Crossmaglen has paid a very emotional tribute to a teenager who was well-liked and much-loved by staff and his peers.

Dylan was the son of Shane and Catherine Vallely and a brother to Sophia – who also attends St Joseph’s High – and Amelia.

The governors, staff and pupils have sent their condolences to his heartbroken parents and sisters.

“Dylan touched our lives in so many ways during his time with us,” the school said.

“He was not just a student, he was a shining light in the classroom, in the playground, on the football field and was a valued, beloved member of our school community.

“His infectious smile, wonderful sense of humour and mischievous glint in his eye never failed to entertain his friends and teachers alike.

“Dylan also had a serious side where, as a Senior Prefect, he was the perfect role model with his mature and courteous manner that leaves an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him.

“Dylan lived out the core values of St Joseph’s in that he had a rare gift for making everyone feel valued and included, and he never hesitated to offer a helping hand to those in need.

“While we grieve as a school community, let us also remember the joy, love, friendship and inspiration he brought into our lives.

“His kindness and personality meant that he was loved and respected by both his teachers and peers; his death leaves a void in our school community.

“We should honour Dylan’s memory by living our lives with the same kindness, compassion, determined attitude and ardent desire to strive for improvement just as he did.

“Dylan was someone you felt proud to be associated with. He was a boy steeped in moral value, instinctively knowing the difference between right and wrong.

“Dylan was not just a leader. He was the leader. He captained every school team he played for, and his friends and teammates knew exactly who to follow on and off the field. As a footballer he lit up ‘many a pitch’ in Armagh and leaves a glowing light in the life of everyone he met.

“Dylan embodied everything that is positive about the young people of South Armagh. His impact on the life of St Joseph’s High School is impossible to quantify, but his innate goodness will always be the standard by which all of us are measured, and that is a truly remarkable legacy to leave.

“If there is such a thing as the perfect pupil, then Dylan belonged to this special group. Although we are heartbroken, we feel very fortunate to be able to count Dylan as a member of the St Joseph’s family, and one we will never forget.

“It is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest sympathy to his mother Catherine, his father Shane, his sisters Sophia and Amelia and extended Vallely and Toner families and friends as they come to terms with the loss of their dearest Dylan.

“Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dilis.”

Dylan was a member of St Michael’s GFC, where he had collected a Player of the Year award just a week before the collision which claimed his life.

But he was also highly regarded by all at St Patrick’s Camogie Club in Cullyhanna, where they regarded him as “an honorary member”.

The club also paid tribute to the young lad, saying: “He would be seen many an evening a week in Cullyhanna with his mammy Catherine and sisters Sophia and Amelia and around the village with his friends.

“If St Michael’s was his second home, St Patrick’s was certainly his third. He grew up around our senior camogs and alongside his best friend Ryan in our club and friends in our underage camogie teams.

“No matter where we went the boys were on the bus with us. No matter what was on in the club he was there.

“Dylan was one of those children that genuinely stood out for his impeccable manner and behaviour. He was so well thought of by all who met him. The last few weeks has shown how much his young life meant to so many. No matter who we’ve spoken to, all had the same things to say about him.

“Dylan was smart, handsome and such a talented footballer with a bright future ahead of him. He excelled in all areas. The absolute pride of his parents.

“What an honour it has been to have known and loved you Dylan. To Shane, Catherine, Sophia and Amelia we will do everything in our power to support you in these darkest of days ahead.

“Now we continue to pray. Pray for his happy repose and for his heartbroken family and friends, that they will find strength to somehow move forward. We will also pray for his teammates in St Michael’s and his school mates in St Joseph’s. We will pray for all those who cared for him and his family since the accident.
Rest in peace wee fella. We will miss you beyond words.”

Dylan’s’ funeral will now take place at the weekend.

Dylan will be reposing at his home at 81 Dundalk Road, Newtownhamilton, from tonight (Wednesday). The house tonight is private for family only.

The family will welcome visitors Thursday all day until 9pm Friday evening.

The house is private for family after this time and on Saturday morning.

Dylan’s remains will be removed on Saturday at 10.15am to St Michael’s Church, Newtownhamilton for 11am requiem mass, after which he will be laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.

A death notice describes him as the “loving son of Shane and Catherine, beloved brother of Sophia and Amelia. Cherished grandson of Shane and Annmarie Toner and Donal and the late Ann Vallely. Nephew of Leanne and Kieran, Donna and Wayne, Terence and Kathleen, James and Hannah, Louise and Paul, Neil and Bronagh, Gavin and Maria.”

His passing is “deeply regretted and remembered with love by his heartbroken parents, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, wider family circle and many many friends”.

Police meanwhile say that a full investigation into the circumstances of the collision will take place.

Sergeant Braiden, from the Collision Investigation Unit, said: “The collision involving a black VW Golf, occurred shortly before 10.20pm on the Sturgan Road.

“An 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy who were in the front of the car, were taken to hospital for treatment to non-life-threatening injuries following the collision.

“A full investigation into the circumstances surrounding what happened is ongoing. Officers would appeal to anyone with any information or who may have dash-cam or mobile phone footage available to contact them at the Collision Investigation Unit at Sprucefield on 101, quoting reference number 2021 27/10/23.”

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