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Emotional farewells for young Derry cousins Shauna (17) and Kelsey Marie Stokes (3) killed in crash


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Tragedy: The pink coffin of road accident victim Kelsey Marie Stokes (3) at St Joseph’s Church in Galliagh, Londonderry

Tragedy: The pink coffin of road accident victim Kelsey Marie Stokes (3) at St Joseph’s Church in Galliagh, Londonderry

Shauna Stokes

Shauna Stokes

Kelsey Marie Stokes

Kelsey Marie Stokes

Tragedy: The pink coffin of road accident victim Kelsey Marie Stokes (3) at St Joseph’s Church in Galliagh, Londonderry

The funerals of two young Londonderry cousins, who were killed in a road crash in England earlier this month, heard that their precious short lives had "made an impact on many people".

Shauna (17) and Kelsey Marie Stokes (3) died in a two-vehicle collision involving a van and a Peugeot 206 car in Co Durham on September 2.

Both girls died in hospital following the crash which happened on the A1086 Coast Road between Horden and Blackhall.

Five other people, including Shauna's twin sister Kelly and Kelsey Marie's mother Michelle, were injured.

Both families had been attending a large gathering in England to celebrate Kelly and Shauna's 17th birthdays.

Mrs Stokes remains in hospital being treated for her injuries and was unable to attend yesterday's joint funeral service in St Joseph's Church in Galliagh.

The two cousins were remembered by family and friends who gathered for the Requiem Mass, many of whom were wearing photographs of the two girls on white shirts and pink t-shirts.

In a poem she wrote, which was read out by a family member at yesterday's service, Mrs Stokes paid tribute to her "beautiful daughter and princess" Kelsey.

"I will miss you every single day and there isn't a second or a day when I don't think about you," she wrote.

"You are always on my mind, you were my best friend, my little cheeky girl and I love you in every single way. Your mammy and daddy love you. You were always so strong and we're trying to be strong too," she added.

Fr Michael McCaughey, parish priest of the Three Patrons parish - which includes Galliagh - told mourners that the tragedy had left both grieving families and the wider family circle "sad and heartbroken".

"They are feeling a great sense of loss for these two young people who were loved, cared for and indeed greatly admired," the priest said. "Of course today we may ask why? Sadly we cannot answer why because God's ways are not our ways.

"We thank God for the little memories that these two young people have inspired and created in their family circle in such a short time.

"Their earthly stories are now complete and it's hard to understand why they had to leave us.

"The good person, though she died before her time, will find rest were the words of our first reading."

He added: "Our simple prayer today is that Shauna and Kelsey Marie will find rest. Two precious and short lives ended so suddenly but two lives that made an impact on many people."

Following the service, both coffins were placed in horse-drawn carriages for separate burials at Derry City Cemetery and at Park, Co Derry.

Durham Constabulary are still investigating the circumstances of the crash. They have appealed for witnesses with information that could help with their investigation to contact them on 101, quoting incident number 207 of September 2.

Belfast Telegraph