Tributes to teacher killed in car crash
Tributes have been paid to a young teacher who was killed in a car accident in Co Antrim.
Lauren Minford, who was in her mid-20s, died after the two-vehicle crash on the Moneygran Road near Portglenone as she travelled to work on Friday morning. Miss Minford, who lived in Ahoghill, was a teacher at Culcrow Primary School in Aghadowey.
Her father is Jackson Minford, a senior official with the Roads Service traffic management unit. She was the granddaughter of the late Nat Minford, a South Antrim MP and Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly in the 1980s.
The school said pupils were devastated to learn of her death.
Police said she was the driver of a car that was in collision with a lorry shortly before 8.10am. The occupants of the lorry were not injured.
Miss Minford taught pupils in primary five, six and seven at Culcrow and had been working at the school since last September.
In a statement the school said she loved her work and would be sadly missed.
"Lauren has only been with us since September 2012, but in that short time she has touched the hearts of the pupils she taught and is known well to those she didn't teach.
"The pupils have all been told of Miss Minford's death this afternoon before school ended. We have spent time talking about Miss Minford, but understand that, like ourselves, they will be shocked and deeply saddened by this news."
The school will close on today as a mark of respect, it said.
"Lauren's family wanted me to pass on to you that during the short time she spent at Culcrow, she loved her work, loved the children she taught and many times talked of the wonderful children and parents at Culcrow," the statement added.
"Lauren will be missed greatly, and we will spend time talking with those children she taught, and counselling will be offered by North Eastern Education and Library Board.
"We feel the children may talk more readily to our own staff, and during next week time will be spent talking with those pupils who need to talk, ask questions or try to understand their feelings."
North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said the Minford family was highly respected and well regarded in the area.
"I know Lauren's father well and it was clear that he was very fond of her," he said.
"He was very close to his daughter and was so pleased when she got the teaching post last September.
"For a young teacher who had dedicated her life to serving the education of children to lose her life is a tragedy," he added.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Jackson and the whole Minford family at this sad time and with the staff of Culcrow Primary School."
A PSNI spokesman appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision to contact the investigation team on 0845 600 8000.