Pilot Peter's joy of flying was infectious
Five days after news filtered through that flying instructor Peter Tawse had died in a tragic accident aged 61, hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to him at St Abbain's Church in Adamstown.
Fr Jimmy Moynihan sympathised with Peter's wife Kay, mother Margaret and siblings Liz, John, Lucy and Emi, also taking time to remember John Finnan, the man who was killed in the plane crash along with Peter the previous Sunday when it crashed in a field near Duncormick.
Fr Moynihan said Peter brought so much joy and excitement into people's lives over the years.
A poem called A Life Well Lived was read and one of Peter's sisters spoke movingly about his love of flying. 'Peter was airplanes and clouds and weather systems. I can hardly look at the sky or hear an airplane without thinking of him,' she said, fighting back tears.
She said she wished she could have been able to share his experience of flying with him.
She thanked Kay for the joy she brought into her brother's life. 'When I see the wedgetails soaring on the thermals I will always think of him.'
Family friend Andrea McCann read a beautiful poem she wrote about her recollection of a surprise flying trip with Peter over south Wexford. She recalled feeling like she was a in a perspex bubble, travelling at 80 km/h.
Peter's brother John recalled a moment from his and Peter's childhood growing up in England in the early 1970s. They were heading off on an adventure and Peter wasn't afraid of the unknown adventure ahead. John said his older brother was always able to deal with a crisis and had a deep desire to fly from a very young age which was possibly inherited from his father. In his teens he threw himself into making model airplanes.
'He brought planes to life. Every penny he earned went on flying.'
John recalled Peter qualifying from college and running Waterford Airport, a job that to his mind never really seemed to suit Peter, even if he did an excellent job in developing the airport for the people of the south east.
John said he followed his brother's passion for flying for many years, adding that he had a special gift.
'Meeting Kay set him of on another journey, this time of love.'
He said the community welcomed Peter with open arms when he came to live in Newbawn.
John said he could never thank the people of Co Wexford enough for their support for the family in the days following the accident which claimed Peter's life. He thanked Peter and Kay's neighbours and friends and gave a special word of thanks to the emergency crews who responded to the call following the crash and for all they did for his brother and John Finnan that day.
'Your kindness and compassion will never be forgotten.'
Several songs were played during the ceremony, following which Peter's remains were removed in a wicker coffin which was interred in the church's adjoining graveyard on a blue sky perfect autumn afternoon.
Peter is survived by Kay, his mother Margaret, siblings Liz, John, Lucy and Emi, brothers-in-law Julian, Doug, Niall, Michael, Ned, John and Francis, sisters-in-law Silvia, Statia, Mary, Anne, Helen and Mary J, nephews, nieces, grand nephews, grand nieces, extended family and friends.
Two days earlier hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their respects to John Finnan. Dr Finnan (52), from Athy, Co Kildare, was a senior researcher with Teagasc who was a leading figure in the Crops Research Department at Teagasc's Carlow campus.
Among the mourners were his parents John and Claire, his sisters Emer, Ciara and Mary, his brothers-in-law Eoin, Ken and Steven, his nephews Alastair, Jack, Archie, Joshua and Toby, his niece Hannah, relatives and many friends.
His oak coffin was adorned with a photograph of a smiling Dr Finnan flying and a wreath full of white lilies, roses and carnations.
The Mass, con-celebrated by Frs Tim Hannon from Athy and Liam Morgan from Naas, Co Kildare heard that the flying enthusiast adored aircraft and it was his hobby for 30 years.
Fr Hannon in his homily said: '(John's) death was so unnatural and out of the order of life. What has happened is such a hard task for his parents John and Claire and family to ask them to accept. Things happen and to accept them doesn't come easy.
'From talking with his parents I know that John was a very honest, very correct and very charitable man.'