Belfast Telegraph

Helium balloon tragedy girl ‘leaves a legacy of love and joy behind’

Mourners at the funeral of a schoolgirl who died in a freak accident after inhaling helium gas from a balloon have been told that she was a “ray of sunshine”.

Hundreds of family and friends gathered at the Glanvarna Christian Centre, Newtownabbey, to pay their last respects to Jordan McDowell (13).

The year nine pupil at Monkstown Community School died on Sunday.

The non-denominational Christian centre was filled yesterday as school friends, family and the wider community gathered to pay tribute to the young girl.

Her mother Karen broke down in tears as the white coffin, adorned with white and purple heart-shaped wreaths, was carried up to the altar.

Leading the service of thanksgiving, Pastor Billy McClay said Jordan had been a “young lady who had something special”.

“She leaves behind a legacy of joy, love and excitement,” he said of the teenager.

There was laughter among the mourners as he described a girl who was playful, lived life to the full and “didn’t sit still”.

“Heaven doesn’t know what hit it,” he said to Jordan’s family.

“She will be up there asking questions, answering questions — after this morning Heaven will never be the same again.”

Jordan’s grandfather Ronnie paid a personal tribute to the teenager as he read out a poem he had written in which he described her as “a ray of sunshine in our lives, which glowed on us for 13 short years”.

And he asked her friends not to mourn her death: “Please do not weep, just sing and shout and dance about, just as Jordan would have done.”

Throughout the service Jordan was described as a fun-loving teenager who brought joy into people’s lives. A lover of music, she was always singing and dancing and was a big fan of boyband JLS, said Pastor McClay.

She enjoyed football and was thrilled to get the chance to see her team Manchester United play at Old Trafford last year.

The touching service was accompanied by two of Jordan’s favourite hymns, played by family members.

The rendition of Open The Eyes Of My Heart brought many of Jordan’s friends to tears as her family sang along.

A bright pink poster pinned at the front of the room and signed by her school friends read, ‘RIP Jordan, we will always miss you’.

The 13-year-old was interred in Carnmoney East cemetery following the morning service.

Jordan is survived by her |parents Gareth and Karen, and siblings Curtis, Jayden and Keisha.

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