A friend and colleague of the pregnant woman killed in a horror smash has paid a glowing tribute to the 22-year-old nursery worker.
Anthea Ridley described how Kelly Norris was looking forward to becoming a mother for the first time and had begun preparations for the arrival of her baby in September.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ms Ridley said: “Kelly was a super girl with loads of personality to match.
“She was looking forward so much to having her own baby in September and showed us little items she had bought.
“Kelly would have been such a great mum.”
Ms Ridley said staff at Playhouse in Coleraine where Ms Norris worked as deputy leader have been left devastated by the tragedy. The mother-to-be was considered an integral and deeply valued member of the team.
Ms Norris from Portrush died after her car collided with a lorry on the Atlantic Road outside Coleraine as she drove to work on Wednesday morning.
“Kelly started with Playhouse three years ago and was shortly promoted to deputy leader,” added Ms Ridley.
“I was delighted to have her as she was pleasant, warm, caring and hard working. She showed an obvious aptitude for working with children, the children loved her and one parent reminded me how her child even wanted Kelly to come to her house for a sleepover.
“We’re all totally devastated and in shock. This just shouldn’t have happened to our Kelly, she had a close relationship with all Playhouse staff and we will all find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that Kelly will never be back.
“As for the children, they will miss her gentle manner and motherly approach. Playhouse is one big family of staff, parents and children. We have just lost one of our family members.”
Playhouse has shut until next week as a mark of respect and to allow parents the opportunity to break the news of the tragedy to their own children. Staff at the nursery and after school club are also taking advice from professionals on how best to counsel children on their return next week.
Meanwhile 29-year-old Steven Bernard Doey is due to be laid to rest today.
Mr Doey, who has been described by the daughter of his long-term partner as “a fantastic, brilliant person”, died just hours before Ms Norris.
He was returning home in his BMW on the ring road in Coleraine, close to the junction with the Ballycastle Road, when it is understood his vehicle left the road and hit a tree.
A funeral service for Mr Doey is due to take place at St John’s Church at 10am today before he is laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery. Detectives investigating the crashes have appealed for witnesses to come forward.
The accidents bring to 41 the number of people killed on Northern Ireland’s roads so far this year compared to 34 in the same period last year.