A posthumous PhD has been awarded to a talented young Carrickfergus musician and composer who passed away last year.
Daniel Barkley’s parents, David and Joyce, were at Queen’s University Belfast on Thursday to receive the award.
Among those graduating from the School of Music was Stephen Coyle, a fellow student and friend of Daniel, who died suddenly in January 2018 at the age of 28.
Stephen, from Letterkenny in Co. Donegal, said: “The most enjoyable part of studying at Queen’s has been the friendships and connections I’ve made during my time here; so many of the friends I have to this day were made during
my degree and Master’s
“Danny and I met during our Master’s at Queen’s in 2012; he invited me to play piano duets with him after our first lecture and we quickly became good friends.
“Music was of course a major part of our friendship, and I was always in awe of his knowledge and ability as a composer. We would talk a lot about our own thoughts on music and composition, which for a while we turned into a podcast called Comparing Notes.”
Along with Professor Piers Hellawell and Daniel’s friend, Dr Ciaran Kennedy, Stephen helped put together the final submission for Daniel’s PhD.
“Danny’s PhD is in composition, like my own, so in addition to the written part there’s a portfolio of music. The scores in this need to be individually bound, with title pages and prefaces containing any special instructions for performers. So I helped Professor Hellawell and Dr Kennedy with this part.
“Danny was a truly caring and supportive friend that I spoke to probably every day, even if just on WhatsApp, and someone who I miss very much.”
Speaking about their son Daniel and his university experience, David and Joyce said: “We are delighted with the efforts and support that Queen’s has made to facilitate the completion of his work.
“Due to the efforts and dedication of Professor Piers Hellawell, Ciaran Kennedy and Stephen Coyle we now have a tangible remembrance of Daniel, and this is a source of great comfort for us; we can’t thank them enough.
“We appreciate the friendship and guidance offered by Professor Hellawell to Daniel during his years at Queen’s. Daniel considered him to be a close friend, an inspiration and a source of encouragement during his studies. His diligent work of collating and filling in the missing blanks has allowed Daniel’s work to be submitted and for that we are eternally grateful. It has given us a lasting legacy to remember Daniel by.
“We are delighted that Daniel’s close friend and fellow PhD student Stephen Coyle has also just graduated.”