A DARK cloud hung over Ballinakill last Friday as hundreds of mourners gathered to remember Laois mountaineer, John Delaney, who died just 50 metres from the summit of Mount Everest.
His wife Orla, who had given birth to the couple’s third child and only daughter, Hope, paid tribute to her husband during the memorial service. She said Mr Delaney had lived a rich, varied and successful life and that his decision to climb Everest was not onE that he had taken lightly, or alone.
She said he had gone with her full blessing, unwavering support and unconditional love. “John and I were very much aware of the risks, this was not a decision that John made alone or took lightly, he went with my full blessing, unconditional support and unwavering love.
“I can appreciate people asking why, but only those people who are truly passionate can fully understand John’s reasons for going,” she said.
Mrs Delaney said her husband’s greatest passion was his family. “He was devoted to me and our boys, and we both fully expected John to be home for the birth of our baby, but it turned out she wasn’t prepared to wait. He very much lives on in his children, Casper, Alexander and baby Hope, his spirit is very much alive in all three.”
The service was also attended by Mr Delaney’s mother Massey, brother Chris and sister Geraldine who had travelled home from America.
The Ballinakill adventurer died just metres from the top of Everest, without knowing that his wife had given birth to their third child. It was a few days before the family were aware of John’s death as the team were out of contact. His remains are unlikely to be recovered from the mountain.
Local parish priest, Fr Sean Conlon, said John had been determined to conquer Everest. “Having attempted to climb Everest some time ago and reaching half way, he was determined to go all the way and set out over a month ago on what was to be his final climb. It takes dedication and commitment to climb mountains,” Fr Conlon said.
He prayed for John’s team who, he said, “did everything in their power to help John and save him.” The Parish Priest said John would always be remember by climbers on their way to the top who pass that spot.