Belfast Telegraph

Belfast woman who died while on holiday in France is laid to rest

By Mark Bain

Popular Shankill hairdresser Leah Weir was laid to rest yesterday with several hundred mourners gathering at New Life City Church to attend her funeral.

The 28-year-old died suddenly while on holiday in France on June 3.

Leah - who was affectionately called Lele by those closest to her - was in Cannes celebrating the 30th birthday of one of her best friends. The group had been staying on a yacht.

Her devastated mother Deborah travelled to France to bring her daughter's body home.

The main hall at New Life City Church was full to capacity and the streets were lined with hundreds more to hear Pastor Jack McKee urge anyone carrying a burden to reach out for help:

"The Shankill community has once again lost one of its young people," he told those gathered to pay their respects. "We have to ask ourselves 'What did we miss?'

"I remember the time when Leah was very much part of the New Life Youth Group, but she went on to show how, like so many in our community, she carried a burden she was no longer able to carry alone.

"That finally led to the ending of her young life.

"I appeal to those present that if they are struggling, as Leah was, with issues that are too heavy for them, please, please reach out for help to carry it and to ultimately have it removed.

"Remember that the Church is not here to judge, but we're here to help."

Pastor Jack said he was a close friend of Leah over many years:

"I served as the youth pastor in the Church and Leah would have been involved from the age of six. She grew up here in the Church and into her early teen years she was a part of the Church and youth club.

"She was very bright, always enthusiastic. She was so easy to connect with and get on with. She was a fun person, but we know she did have her troubles.

"She had been very outspoken about her mental health and even created a blog to speak about it.

"She used that as a way for her to communicate what she was going through, to let them know that she has been through it and that she was there to help. She was looking for a way to take what she was going through and turn it into a positive.

"Leah was such a popular girl, well known and well loved in the community. She had so many friends who loved her and I've known Leah for a long, long time.

"For many years she had struggled with a lot of different things but certainly tried to turn that into a positive by helping other people."

Two of Leah's friends also read out tributes at the funeral.

Leah is survived by mum Deborah and partner Tom, brothers Luke, Caleb and Daryl.

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