On 31 August we received the news that Pat Weldon had tragically drowned in a river in Dublin.
On the 18th September, 180 people gathered to remember and honour Pat at a ceremony organised by Children First. Chairman Roger Langley welcomed guests before introducing former Foundation Board Director, Father Peter Hudson to lead the ceremony. Julie Wain from St Vincent’s Private Hospital and Pat’s friend Ljerka Rados presented the spiritual readings.
Pats friends, including staff, volunteers and medical contacts, brought forward thirteen items that represented Pat in all his quirky ways – coffee described as his petrol by his sister Fiona, Christmas which he loved, crazy socks which he wore, just to name a few – introduced by friend and colleague Julie Webber. The lemon tree brought forward by his friends Cliff and Wilma is now planted at the Retreat.
The children from the Retreat accompanied volunteer teacher Lorraine to present a photo montage they created of many of the children Pat cared for. Paper flags representing the countries of the children were on display.
We heard tributes from Pat’s friends Margaret Smith, Atom Rahman and Ahmed Kelly. And Board members Don Maloney, Roger Langley and Jeff Hudson read heartfelt messages from Ali and Eman from Palestine and Theresa from the Philippines. Then followed a photographic display of Pat with kids, friends and family and a closing prayer from Father Peter to end the ceremony.
People brought photos, letters and cards with memories of Pat. Our friend from Emmaus College, Kieran Witts, who met Pat many times, was travelling to Waterford on holiday and personally delivered the parcel to Pat’s family on our behalf.
It was a warm gathering of people who Pat touched, lots of tears, laughs and memories shared.
Some final words from Emmaus school captain Tom’s speech which he read at the Year 12 Graduation: One of the most inspirational people I was honoured to meet this year was Patrick Weldon from the Children First Foundation. Sadly, Pat unexpectedly passed away a few months later. Pat’s truly authentic desire and devotion to support the children at the foundation was ever apparent as the smile he had on his face when he watched us making the kids laugh and smile. Pat loved what he did and had a phenomenally powerful impact on so many peoples lives. I think we should all look at the life Pat lived, and learn that we should all pursue what makes us happy and strive to help others, because life’s too short for the alternative.