Belfast Telegraph

Video: Belfast Fashion Week director Cathy Martin struggles with emotions in tribute to model Mairead O'Neill at opening show

Belfast Fashion Week director Cathy Martin struggled to contain her emotions as she paid tribute to the model Mairead O'Neill who died suddenly at the beginning of the week.

Mairead (21) had been a regular on the catwalk of the show.

She passed away on Monday. Over the past week there has been an outpouring of grief and support for her family and friends.

Cathy Martin described Mairead, who was from the Markets area of the city, as a "lovely girl" who was "vivacious" but "fragile".

"Just a young girl, a classic mix of all the emotions which a 21-year-old girl has," she said.

Opening Belfast Fashion Week on Friday evening, she described how her death had caused "shock and devastation among our community".

She struggled to contain her emotions as she tried to explain how the models and organisers decided to hold a fundraiser for the Samaritans in Mairead's honour.

Her co-host, the former Miss Northern Ireland Tiffany Brien took over and encouraged those in the audience to "dig deep" for the cause.

Mairead's death came just 10 months after the passing of her mother from bowel cancer.

Her funeral was held earlier on Friday. The priest conducting the service paid tribute to Mairead's friends and family who helped support her.

“Each of you reached out in your own way to love her back to life," he said.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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