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Police appeal to witness who may hold vital information in Valerie Armstrong scrambler bike death investigation

Valerie Armstrong family's emotional farewell to mum as funeral held

By Angela Rainey

Published 25/07/2016

Emotional farewells being said today to mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong who was killed after being struck by a dirt bike last week.
Picture: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Emotional farewells being said today to mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong who was killed after being struck by a dirt bike last week. Picture: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Emotional farewells being said today to mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong who was killed after being struck by a dirt bike last week. Picture: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Emotional farewells being said today to mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong who was killed after being struck by a dirt bike last week. Mrs Armstrong is survived by her husband of 11 years, Seamus, and her three children Dylan (10), Lucy (7) and five-year-old Sophie-Belle. Picture: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Emotional farewells being said today to mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong who was killed after being struck by a dirt bike last week. Picture: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Emotional farewells being said today to mother-of-three Valerie Armstrong who was killed after being struck by a dirt bike last week. Valerie's husband Seamus. Picture: Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye ©
Valerie Armstrong with husband Seamus and children Dylan, Lucy and Sophie-Belle

Police have made an appeal to a witness who may hold vital information to the death of Valerie Armstrong to get in touch with investigating officers.

Ahead of Mrs Armstrong's funeral, police made the appeal for the passer-by to get in touch.

They believe he may have spoken to the rider of the scrambler at the scene of the fatal crash.

The 35-year-old had been at Colin Glen Park walking her dog when she was mown down by a high-speed scrambler at 5.45pm last Tuesday.

Inspector James Murphy said: “The investigation into this tragic incident continues and we are now appealing to a male passer-by who was present at the scene of the collision, and who may have spoken to the rider of the scrambler, to come forward.

"We believe this man has information which could be of assistance to our investigation and I would ask him to contact police at Woodbourne on 101 quoting reference 1041 19/07/16.”

A 17-year-old has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving in relation to the incident. Another 15-year-old is currently on bail pending further enquiries.

Meanwhile emotional farewells will be said today to the mother-of-three.

Family and friends will pay their respects to Mrs Armstrong at the Church of the Nativity, Poleglass, where she was an active member of the congregation.

Prayers were also said last night at the family home in Poleglass, west Belfast, by Fr Vincent Cushnahan and the Very Rev Patrick Sheehan.

Mrs Armstrong is survived by her husband of 11 years, Seamus, and her three children Dylan (10), Lucy (7) and five-year-old Sophie-Belle, who is due to start primary school in September.

She was originally from Rochfortbridge in Co Westmeath. She died peacefully in the Royal Victoria Hospital surrounded by her family who also gave their blessing to donate her organs.

Fr Cushnahan said that, even in death, Mrs Armstrong had helped others.

"Valerie continues, despite her untimely and tragic death, to be generous to people who have never met her and they will have life-saving treatment from her organs that will allow them to have a lease on life she lost," he said.

"Even in desperate sadness there will be life and generosity.

"Valerie and her family are very happy for people to receive her organs."

Fr Cushnahan described the situation as "naturally a very devastating and tragic time".

"The incident itself initially came as a tremendous shock to the family," he said.

"Valerie was a young woman of 35 and a mum with three young children, and of course, married to Seamus for 11 years. They had settled into life together and, naturally, like any young couple were looking forward to a long, happy and fulfilled life, and to watch their kids grow up to become successful and fulfilled people."

While coping with the tragedy, Fr Cushnahan said the family were "in a state of shock", but grateful for the support received from neighbours and medical staff.

He said that Mrs Armstrong went to church every Sunday with her children. "She was a very joyful and committed presence in the church," he said.

"We would have found her a very dedicated mother to her three children, and she and her husband Seamus worked very hard in their respective places of employment to make sure their children were well provided for.

"She seemed to be a generous, kind and loving person who was filled with life and the natural expectations of a young mum."

Mrs Armstrong had worked as a waitress at Cafe Vaudeville, and on the news of her death her employers posted on Facebook: "It is with heavy hearts that all of us at Cafe Vaudeville have taken the news of our friend and colleague Valerie Armstrong's tragic death."

A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with any financial costs and has so far reached more than £2,500.

A Requiem Mass conducted by the Very Rev Sheehan will be held at Church of the Nativity, Poleglass, from 1pm today.

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