Hundreds say sad farewell to tragic South Shields dad

Floral tributes honour doting dad Ben Malloy.
Floral tributes honour doting dad Ben Malloy.

Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay an emotional final tribute to a tragic dad who will stay ‘forever young’.

Ben Malloy died suddenly while working on an oil rig in Denmark on December 13 – just days before he was due to return home from Christmas.

The poignant procession is led down West Road for Ben Malloy's funeral.

The poignant procession is led down West Road for Ben Malloy's funeral.

The hugely popular 25-year-old touched so many people during his short life that his heartbroken family decided to stage two funeral services to allow everyone to pay a fitting farewell.

Mourners packed St Michael’s Church, in Westoe Road, South Shields, for a service of remembrance before a huge turn-out at South Shields Crematorium for a ‘celebration’ of the devoted dad-of-two’s life.

Ben’s coffin was taken into St Michael’s to the poignant soundtrack of Michael Ball’s song Tell Me It’s Not True.

The congregation were handed a service sheet filled with snapshots of Ben as a baby and a young child which stated “Ben is forever young”.

A smile for Ben would be better than crying

Minister Ray Wood

In a tribute, Ben’s stepfather Colin Cambell said Ben had made his family “proud”.

He said: “Ben was an enigma, a paradox, a mystery, an irrepressible rascal and one-of-a-kind.

“His mother, Carol, was so proud of Ben, of his work ethic and how he provided for his family and how he had come to the realisation that his mother was his best friend, always there with a steady hand.

“He had such a powerful love, he loved his partner Fay unconditionally and doted on his daughter Faith and always missed his young son Marcus when on the oil rig.”

Ben Malloy's coffin is led into St Michael's Church.

Ben Malloy's coffin is led into St Michael's Church.

The second service at South Shields Crematorium saw dozens of mourners listen to the service from outside on the public address system.

Humanist minister Ray Wood urged friends and family to ‘smile’ for Ben to help honour his life.

He said; “Our way of bidding farewell is with care, respect and dignity. It is especially sad when someone so young dies.

“When someone so enthusiastic and passionate about life dies, we mourn not only the life that was, but the life that might have been.

Ben Malloy with his long-term partner Fay Sarsons.

Ben Malloy with his long-term partner Fay Sarsons.

“Ben’s death has come too soon and without explanation.”

Mr Wood said: “He is someone you will never, ever forget.

“Pure and simply, he was a larger-than-life character with a skill and capacity for friendship.”