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Crash victim dedicated her life to caring for others, mourners told

By Allan Preston

Published 30/07/2016

Mourners carry Lorraine’s coffin
Mourners carry Lorraine’s coffin
Lorraine's work colleagues weeping as they form a guard of honour
Lorraine Clyde
Lorraine working for charity

A choir of primary school workers sang at the funeral of their lollipop lady and friend Lorraine Clyde, who died this week in a road crash.

The 56-year-old was killed along with her colleague Michelle McStravick (35) in a two-car collision on the Church Road in Randalstown just before 8am on Monday.

Parish priest for St Comgall's Church in Antrim, Fr Sean Emerson, told mourners that Lorraine had "dedicated her life to caring for others" and would be sorely missed by her husband William and five children.

The congregation of around 600 mourners also prayed for the family of Michelle McStravick - whose funeral was held on Thursday in Randalstown - and for her teenage daughter Cliodhan.

Following the service Lorraine's remain were cremated at Roselawn cemetery.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Fr Emerson described Lorraine as "friendly, warm and good-hearted".

"Lorraine was the longest serving member of staff at St Comgall's Primary School," he said.

"She was there for 28 years as a lollipop lady. She was friendly, warm, good-hearted and a person who was always willing to help out and give a hand to others who needed it.

"It's strange someone who had dedicated a good part of her life to caring for others and caring for children as they crossed the road, lost her life through a car accident.

"She was a very fine person."

Earlier this week Lorraine's husband William Clyde paid a moving tribute: "She was the first and only steady girlfriend I had - and then I married her.

"She was a genuinely great woman who put family first. And she was so proud of them all."

Fr Emerson added his tribute.

"William spoke well about her, very fondly and lovingly, she was such a large part of his life," he said.

"When the staff at the school sang the hymns for the service, that was particularly poignant I thought for so many of the staff to do that."

A statement from the school's board of governors read: "She had the needs of the children at the forefront of her work. She will be sincerely missed".

Fr Emerson also revealed that as a Unison representative at her school Lorraine was "always acting justly for others who needed help."

Unison Northern Ireland posted a picture online yesterday showing Lorraine smiling with a collection she organised at her school for refugees in Greece.

A statement from the Unison Belfast education branch called her "a determined champion of women's and workers' rights", and said that she was "held in the highest regard by her colleagues in the union."

Lorraine was elected to the Unison Northern Ireland's regional committee last October and recently made her maiden speech at the organisation's local government national conference.

Friend Angela Gribben posted online: "Such a beautiful lady, Lorraine's enthusiasm to deliver her speech at local government conference will live with me forever. Deepest sympathy to her family. May she rest in peace."

Noeleen Beattie commented: "What a friendly, fun and enthusiastic woman. I first met Lorraine in Ennis where she spoke at ICTU Conference. No fuss, she just got in with it. Thoughts and prayers with her family and friends."

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