Belfast Telegraph

Amy Loughrey's loved ones say farewell to 'bright and radiant light' as Donegal road victim laid to rest

By Angela Rainey

Friends and family have said farewell to a Co Londonderry woman who was killed in a car accident on her way home from work just before Christmas.

Amy Loughrey - known by friends for her "beautiful eyes and infectious smile" - was laid to rest at St Columb's Church on Chapel Road yesterday.

The 25-year-old was killed 12 miles from her home in Seven Oaks in the Waterside area of the city as she travelled back from her job as a waitress at the Red Door Country House in Fahan, Co Donegal.

The former pupil at Oakgrove Integrated College was killed instantly in a head-on collision with another car on the main Derry to Buncrana road at around 11pm. A man in his 20s, who was driving the other vehicle, was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Loughrey family, including Amy's sister Jennifer, have been left distraught by the tragedy, and in his homily parish priest Fr Michael Canny described the sight of watching the family "de-Christmas" as the news sunk in.

Yesterday hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects as Amy was laid to rest.

At her Boxing Day Requiem Mass, Fr Canny used the metaphor of the dimming of the Christmas tree lights as a symbol for the young woman's life being prematurely extinguished.

He said: "When my colleague Fr Sean O'Donnell and myself arrived at the Loughrey family home in the early hours of Friday morning, I could see people de-Christmasing.

"Tinsel, wrapped gifts, decorations and cards - the symbols of Christmas - wholly inappropriate.

"Likewise, the lights on the Christmas tree were put out - symbolising how a bright light in the Loughrey family had also been extinguished.

"The hope and joy of Christmas had been replaced by disbelief, anguish and broken hearts because Amy would not be coming home alive again. An event 12 miles away and a knock on the door meant that life was utterly changed.

"Indeed, for many people life will never be the same again.

"Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

He added: "Amy, who was a bright and radiant light for all who knew her, was always generous with her time, she was always kind and thoughtful and empathetic, with an infectious smile."

Meanwhile, the Red Door Country House cancelled all bookings for the evening as a mark of respect.

Condolences were also offered by Amy's colleagues at Foyle International, a language school in the city where Amy taught summer classes. It read: "It is with the greatest sadness that we share the tragic news of the death of one of our summer school teachers in a road accident in Donegal. Amy Loughrey will be sadly missed."

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