A mother’s bawl pierced the atmosphere yesterday at the funeral service for her 20-year-old son and football enthusiast, Mickayle Edward Lawrence, better known as ‘Tappa’.

Lawrence, described as industrious and particularly protective of his family and friends, was shot and killed on 11 September 2020.

A gunman shot him once in the head while he visited friends in the community of Angels, located at Spanish Town, St. Catherine. None of the friends was injured.

Up to the time of the incident, Lawrence was living with his relatives at Angels. However, he spent some childhood years with his maternal grandmother, Lesma Jones, at Lluidas Vale district in St. Catherine.

His corpse, in a mahogany red casket, was interred amid rainfall at Lluidas Vale Cemetery. Shortly before that, people gathered for the funeral service held under national restrictions aimed at slowing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lawrence, who was an ardent fan of Arsenal Football Club, was buried with various trappings of the squad renowned for top-flight English football.

He was buried in an Arsenal suit while the football team’s anthem blared from the hearse. His casket had a flag, a pair of football shoes, and a football – all in Arsenal colours. Even the funeral programme, which has a football on the front, was done in the colours of the London-based football powerhouse.

Lawrence was not only a big football fan; he wanted to become a football coach to help develop the sport.

At the time he was gunned down, he was enrolled at Jamaica’s sports school – GC Foster College.

Lawrence previously attended Charlemont High School, Dinthill Technical High, Portmore HEART Academy, Pollyground Primary, Bourne’s Little Angel in Ewarton district, and Bread of Life Academy in Linstead.

His seven-year-old cousin, Jhaythan ‘JT’ Samuels, recalled dressing like him and accompanying him to football matches.

“He is my role model and I love him so much,” the child said in a tribute.

He added: “Mickayle takes me along with him to football games, the movies, the skating ring and my school trips when mom and dad could not make it. He taught me the game of football, which I have grown to love so much. I will continue to be good at it for you, Mickayle.”

Another cousin, Zobia Davis, who travelled from abroad to attend the funeral, told mourners that the death seemed surreal.

“This wasn’t how I was supposed to come and reunite with my cousin; it was supposed to be a celebration with joy and laughter,” she said.

“Edward was my confidant and my rod; the bond we had was not explainable. I could call my cousin any time and he would be alert and listening… Edward taught me to never become too complacent in life and always strive towards something. Edward was the epitome of hard working, loyal and determined. No matter his situation, he was always positive and trying. His tenacity was beyond most of his age group.”

Meanwhile, an aunt of the deceased, Deserene McFarlane, recalled Lawrence being jovial.

“He was family-oriented. Mickayle made a story out of everyone, whether it would be physically or orally. His sense of joviality steered him into stories about his family. He was very peaceful. He was very cautious in not letting any family member feel inferior… He was very industrious. He was always helping Derrick with the chickens,” Deserine further said in a tribute read by Lawrence’s godmother, Beverly Brady-Grandison.

Two of Lawrence’s other relatives – his aunt Georgia ‘Heather’ Roberts and cousin Patrice McFarlane, who delivered the eulogy together, spoke glowlingly of their loved-one.

Patrice told mourners: “Mickayle was a family man; he never loved to hear family members in a fuss.”

Georgia said: “Mickyale was an energetic, caring, natural, adventurous person. He was always there for his friends. There are times when he would ask his mom Roshelle [Roberts] for lunch money for his friends, and money to go to CHAMPS. Kind and considerable was he.”

Devonte Spencer, a friend of the deceased, told the gathering that he was treated like a biological brother.

He further said: “Mickayle Lawrence was a very jovial, kind and humble person – the person who would always make you feel like you are the only friend in the world that he had, and would have laughed and shared with you.

“Mickayle was like a brother to me and my first brother during the time when I was an only child for my mother. He would always be there any time I am in need of a friend to talk to. There were times when things got rough and I felt like giving up on my dreams, but my brother would always push me and encourage me to never give up,” Spencer added.

In the meantime, the bereaved family was on the receiving end of comforting words from well-wishers.

Commercial Manager at IGL, Devon Anderson, in a tribute, said the company will continue to support its employee, Roshelle, who is the mother of the deceased.

“We share her grief; we stand ready to support her,” Anderson declared. “As we look forward to the future, I encourage the family to be strong.”

Mickayle, born on 9 March 2000, is survived by his mother, grandmother, father Andy Lawrence, two sisters, two brothers, other relatives, and friends.

To view our live coverage of the funeral service and burial, CLICK HERE.


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By Mills