Mark English pays emotional tribute to UCD classmates who died in Berkeley tragedy

English was in college with Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh.

Irish athlete Mark English.
Irish athlete Mark English.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRISH ATHLETE MARK English has paid tribute to two of his classmates who passed away in the Berkeley balcony tragedy and revealed how he was affected by the ‘devastating news’.

English, who won a bronze medal in last year’s European Athletics Championships and a silver in this year’s European Indoors,  was in college in UCD with Lorcan Miller and Eimear Walsh.

A Sky Academy Scholar, English wrote on the Sky Sports website about an emotional few months.

“June 15 will live for a long time in my memory. I was involved in a day of filming with Sky Sports in Dublin.

“The whole operation was precision personified.  Everything was timed so that the crew had their job completed in time for their flight home to the UK that evening.


“But there was little time to absorb the devastating news I received during filming that day of the death of two of my medical school classmates in the balcony accident in Berkeley, California.

“The accident claimed the lives of six students and leaving another seven in a critical condition. The magnitude of this tragedy caused me to stop in my tracks and think.

“Were it not for my athletics I may well have been out there myself on a J1 Visa. Less than a year ago I had shared a class holiday with Lorcan Miller (RIP) and Eimear Walsh (RIP) in Croatia.

23/6/2015 The Funeral Mass for Eimear Walsh takes Eimear Walsh was one of the victims of the Berkeley tragedy. Source: Photocall Ireland

They were two of the brightest, affable and most vivacious people I had ever met.

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“Events like this put injuries and poor performances into perspective. I returned from the European team championships on June 23 just in time to attend the funerals of both classmates.

My own worries paled into insignificance.

“Athletics is not life and death. In September our class will be missing two vibrant young people who never got a chance to fulfil their potential.”

The Funeral of Lorcan Miller will take place today Lorcan Miller passed away in Berkeley in June Source: Photocall Ireland

“In the light of all that has happened so far this summer I realise that it is important to live life to the full.

“To see that glass half full rather than half empty. There is still half the summer left. There is still time to improve on my form and set my injury straight.

“I will try to embrace the advice of the writer Samuel Beckett…..

“Ever tried.  Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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