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Friends mourn community volunteer Alice Smylie (74) killed in Castledawson crash

By Cate McCurry

Tributes have been paid to a loving mother-of-one who was killed in a late night crash at the weekend.

Alice Smylie (74), from Co Antrim was travelling with her family when the horrific two-car collision happened on the Hillhead Road near Castledawson on Saturday.

Mrs Smylie, from Broughshane, was with her husband, Laurence and their son James. Both men were taken to hospital for treatment to their injuries which are not thought to be life-threatening.

Another man was also taken to hospital for treatment.

It is understood the deceased was sitting in the back seat of the car when the collision occurred.

Friends of the pensioner have been paying tribute to her "hard work" within the Broughshane community.

She was one of the founding members of the Braid Oil Club, which helps local residents pay for their fuel costs.

Geoffrey Aiken, who is chairman of the group, said she was a "very valued member" of the club. "She was very faithful helping out," he said.

"I also considered her a friend as well as being a valued member of the community and the oil club especially. Laurence and Alice were on the committee, there are six of us all together who help run it.

"Alice and her husband were great at helping out. She did everything so willingly and was a lovely woman.

"She was one of the original members who volunteered from the start. It shows the type of person she was, that she helped out from the beginning. We will miss her very much, as a friend as well."

TUV leader Jim Allister, who is an Assembly candidate for the area, also paid tribute to the pensioner.

Mr Allister said he knew the victim through her widower.

"Her husband was one of the school bus drivers for many years at the Moorfields Primary School, where I am chairman of the board of governors.

"I want to express my deep condolences to Mr Smylie and his family in this tragic loss. No doubt it has brought deep shock to the Broughshane community where they lived. It's a reminder to us all of the dangers inherent in our roads."

A number of friends also took to social media to pass on their condolences to the family.

One friend posted: "Thoughts and prayers to the family of a much loved wife and mother."

Her death takes the total number of people killed on Northern Ireland roads to six this year.

Inspector Gavin Sterling said: "The road traffic accident occurred near the Creagh Road and involved a red Kia Soul and a black Mazda. I would ask anyone who may have witnessed this collision, or either car in the area, to contact Magherafelt Police Station or the Collision Investigation Unit on the non-emergency number 101."

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