Poignant farewell in Limerick to jockey and 'warrior' Laura, 25

Maria Flannery

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Maria Flannery

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maria.flannery@limerickleader.ie

Poignant farewell in Limerick to jockey and 'warrior' Laura, 25

Laura's heartbroken husband Ben carries her remains from St John's cathedral this Monday PICTURE: Liam Burke/Press 22

THE FUNERAL has taken place of Limerick jockey Laura Hamilton, née Barry, who sadly passed away at the age of 25 after a battle with cancer.

Raheen native Laura died in the early hours of Friday morning, the day before her wedding day to Ben Hamilton. The pair married privately before she passed away in Milford Hospice.

Her funeral service took place this Monday afternoon at St John’s cathedral in Limerick city. Two days after what would have been their big wedding day, a heartbroken Ben carried his wife’s coffin from the church.

Speaking at the funeral Mass, Fr Noel Kirwan said that Laura was a caring ‘giver’, who had ‘the gift of motherhood’ to all of those around her.

“There was so much joy in the buildup to the wedding. She was wondering who was going to do this person’s hair or where this person was going to stay. It was all about everyone else. It became the tool with which she battled through her illness. It gave her such strength,” said Fr Kirwan.

“The journey towards her wedding was a journey towards a great outpouring of love. And now, there is a great outpouring of love for Laura.”

Among those who gathered to pay their respects was Laura’s brother-in-law, jockey Tony Hamilton.

Laura was stepmother to Ben’s son Harry, and a story was told on the altar of the bond they shared. When Harry was very young, he placed a bet against his uncle Tony, such was his faith in Laura. And that day, he was on to a winner.

In fact, Laura rode 18 winners in her career from 2010 to 2014. She was trained by Richard Fahey in the north of England.

“Racing is a tough and difficult life. It demands long hours and huge dedication, it demands that you be part of a team that’s willing to do everything that’s necessary to get this horse in a position that it might win this race,” said Fr Kirwan.

“And she was feisty. One of the freedoms that Laura had in all of this is the freedom to speak her mind while undergoing treatment or being given medication,” he added.

The priest told Laura’s husband Ben that the bond he shares with the Barry family will last forever.

“Love travels a strange and mysterious journey, it takes you to strange and mysterious places,” he said.

Laura was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of nerve cancer in 2016, an illness which eventually left her paralysed after several surgeries. The Requiem Mass heard of a “warrior” woman who “wore a smile when others would cry”.

Today, jockeys at Ripon Races paid their respects to Laura with a minute’s silence.

Her funeral continued to Shannon Crematorium this Monday evening.