Award-winning officer who died at marathon laid to rest
Family and colleagues were this afternoon paying their respects to a heroic officer who collapsed and died competing in his first marathon.
Police Service of Northern Ireland officer Stephen Hearney was taken ill five miles into the Belfast City Marathon on bank holiday Monday and passed away a short time later in hospital.
In 2009, the PSNI constable received a Royal Humane Society bravery award for rescuing a man from a burning building along with another officer.
He reportedly broke down the door of a flat in Limavady and brought a man in his 50s to safety while colleague Suzanne McIlwaine roused neighbours, tasked the fire brigade and administered medical help to the injured party before an ambulance arrived.
His funeral was taking place at Christ Church in his home town of Limavady on Friday afternoon (May 11), followed by interment in the adjoining churchyard.
The 50-year-old’s daughter, Victoria, paid tribute to her father, writing on her Facebook page on Tuesday (May 8): “I hoped that today I would have been congratulating you on completing your first marathon.
“God had other plans and decided to take away the best man of my life, a role model through being a dad, a supporter, a sports player and a gentleman to everyone he crossed.”
Her father was planning to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support by completing the marathon. Victoria has indicated she intends to “finish the fundraising” in his memory.