Tribute to local hero

by Gazette Reporter
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The funeral mass of much-loved Down Syndrome Ireland (DSI) fundraiser Aidan Lynam took place in St Mary’s Church, Lucan, on a wet Wednesday morning.
The Lucan father of three died when his motorbike collided with a car near Kilkee in County Clare on Sunday, May 3, during his annual Rev-Up4DSI fundraising run.
The traffic around Lucan was brought to a standstill as mourners made their way to the church. A huge guard of honour accompanied the hearse and crowds of people lined the streets as the procession arrived. Also present were representatives of An Garda Siochana with about six gardai on motorbikes taking part.
Over 60 motorbikes of all sorts, from choppers to light bikes, flooded into Lucan for the funeral. There was an eerie silence as the cortege progressed through the streets and all that could be heard was the heavy purr of engines.
Motorbike club the Blood Bikers acted as marshals guiding people into the church grounds and showing the other bikers where to park. As the hearse entered the church grounds, all the motorbikes revved in unison to welcome Aidan home.
One of Aidan’s more famous friends and fellow biker PJ Gallagher also arrived in his biker leathers. Earlier, Gallagher had tweeted: “This guy only ever called me to help other people. I’m going to miss you buddy. Wish there were more like you. Aidan Lynam. A life spent trying to improve the lives of everyone he met and most of all a biker.”
A light drizzle veiled the scene outside the church as about 300 people made their way in to pay their last respects to Aidan. Among the mourners were around 30 young people from Maynooth Students for Charity, all dressed in red and green hoodies. Aidan had acted as a marshal for their charity cycle events every year.
Throngs of Harley-Davidson-riding bikers, who looked like Hell’s Angels, shed their tough image and embraced each other outside the church. Indeed everyone who attended Aidan’s funeral mass openly showed affection for each other.
On the altar inside St Mary’s Church, were several items that bore great significance to Aidan. These poignant mementoes included his motorcycle helmet and his camera.
The entire altar and the coffin were draped in white flowers, and on the coffin stood a photograph of Aidan.
Fr Thomas Kennedy, delivering the sermon, said: “Today is a very special day for everyone who knew Aidan. We’re all thinking of everyone who knew Aidan and are brought together in a moment of love and celebration. We also need to pray for those who are alone and to remember the importance of advocacy. Aidan was loved by many and will remain in the hearts of his family, friends and everyone he touched.”
Tributes to the local hero had been flooding in well before the funeral, with politicians, DSI, friends and fellow bikers, all expressing their admiration for their extraordinary friend.
Close friend Ian Marten, speaking to The Gazette, said: “Aidan had a huge impact on everyone he knew and I feel very fortunate to have had him as a friend. I spent the entire day making a wooden cross out of a 200-year-old pitch pine beam, which I guess is my way of paying tribute to him.
“He has helped many, many people through his charity work and the motorcycle display just shows how much he was loved.”
Minister for Justice and Lucan TD Frances Fitzgerald said: “I wish to express my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and neighbours of Aidan Lynam.
“This was a terrible tragedy, and the huge public expression of sorrow demonstrates the widely held admiration by many of the fantastic contribution Aidan made to his community and to Down Syndrome Ireland throughout his life.” website posted: “Revup4Dsi event’s huge success for Down Syndrome Ireland in terms of both raising awareness and funds (almost €1,500,000 to date) can largely be attributed to the direction and motivation of one man: Aidan Lynam.”
Chief executive of Down Syndrome Ireland Pat Clarke described Aidan as “one of a kind… salt of the earth”.
“Aidan had been working with us for the last 10 years, he helped raise in excess of €1m throughout the last decade. Aidan was much more than that, he was a parent, a father, a husband.
“He had such a broad outreach to a lot of people, his passing will affect a lot of people.
“Rev-Up 4 DSI was the brainchild of Aidan, and poignantly this year marked the 10th anniversary of this event, which through Aidan and his fellow motorcyclists has raised over €1.6m for Down Syndrome Ireland.
“Aidan was a much loved and valued senior member of our team at Down Syndrome Ireland, committed to his family and his work and all of our hearts are simply broken as we struggle to come to terms with this great loss.”
Aidan is survived by his wife, Nikki, and their three children, Robyn, Jake and Harry.
He will be greatly missed, not only by his friends and those who benefitted from his advocacy work, but also as a symbol of love and light to all. Ar dheis de go raibh a anam dillis.

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