Brave Hayden was loved for his ‘positivity and enthusiasm’
TRIBUTES poured forth this week for a popular 17-year-old who sadly passed away after a long illness.
Clondalkin youngster Hayden McLafferty was laid to rest on last week at his local parish in Rowlagh.
Hayden had been battling a heart condition since he was young, and had to stop attending St Mary’s JNS while in fourth class due to the worsening condition.
Despite the challenges he faced, he remained positive throughout, continued to be schooled at home, played football with Esker Celtic in a ‘Football For All’ programme until the last few years, and was an avid DC/Marvel fan, Batman a firm favourite.
A big crowd of mourners turned out to support Hayden’s family, which includes parents Gillian and Tommy and younger brother Riley.
Many gathered outside the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to pay their respects during the funeral service, and neighbours on the streets of Rowlagh Avenue, where the family live, decked out the estate in bunting.
Speaking to The Echo on behalf of the McLafferty family, was Anne Bower, a teacher at Hayden’s school St Mary’s.
Ms Bower, who taught Hayden in third class, continued to teach him for seven more years after school, when Hayden was unable to attend the campus due to his illness.
She even learned the Leaving Cert syllabus, and Hayden was working towards completing the Leaving Cert.
“In fourth class he became quite ill, the following year, I started home tuition. He just kind of kept going so I kept going,” said Anne.
“He was always very positive, never complained, very easy to teach, a good tonic after a day of school! During Covid, we started learning on Zoom, which worked out better. He’d be waiting for me when I got home after school. He did six subjects everyday, and would do his homework during the day.”
Anne built up quite the rapport with Hayden over the years, and says his family always went out of their way to get him to things he liked.
“He loved going to comic-cons, all of those movies, the Dark Knight was his favourite, his Dad also liked that. He always went over to the new library when he could, and loved history.
“He was big into plays and musicals. For Junior Cert English, we went to the Bord Gais Theatre to see Blood Brothers, which he really enjoyed.”
Ms Bowers said Hayden “loved singing and had no problem public speaking”.
“He had music lessons from LauraLynn, released his own CD to raise money for them, and also he made a recent video for palliative care on YouTube (Hayden Clondalkin).
“Over the last few years, he didn’t spend much time in hospital.”
Funeral mass was celebrated by Fr John Delaney, a former parish priest in Rowlagh, and current Chaplain of Our Lady’s Children’s Crumlin Hospital.
Fr Delaney is also a personal friend of the McLafferty family.
A host of football clubs across the city posted messages of support, including Shelbourne FC.
“Hayden was a regular at Tolka when able to come and we send our thoughts to his family and friends,” said the League of Ireland club.
Fr Hugh Kavanagh, parish priest Rowlagh/Neilstown said the huge outpouring of support in the community, was reflective of the fact that “people wanted to make it a happy occasion”.
Fr Abraham, soon to be departed back to his native India on October 10, said: “I knew him since 2012, Hayden was very good, a really nice boy.”
Annette Doherty, Principal of St Mary’s SNS, said Hayden used to come into the school on special occasions like Christmas.
“He was a very valued member of the school community and was loved by everybody for his positivity and enthusiasm. His SNA Harriet Sterling worked closely with him,” said Ms Doherty.
“One of the teachers Anne Bower, continued to work with him right up until the week before he died.
“We would like to extend our sympathies with Hayden’s family, and all his family and friends.”
Hayden was a regular visitor to Sub-City Comics in the city centre.
“We loved it when Hayden would visit,” said Sub-City Comics in a public post.
“No work got done because we’d drop everything to talk Batman comics with him. Hayden was an avid reader and the biggest Bat Fan we know and a hero in his own right. Our thoughts are with his family and friends now at this time.”