Belfast Telegraph

Evelyn Halliday's grief as husband and daughter killed in Newry crash

Family is left devastated after latest fatal A1 crash

Evelyn and Raymond Halliday and Anna
Evelyn and Raymond Halliday and Anna
Evelyn Halliday with husband Raymond and daughter Anna
The crash scene

By Gillian Halliday

A pensioner who lost her husband and daughter in a road crash on the A1 dual carriageway at the weekend has spoken of her devastation.

Newry woman Evelyn Halliday (83) will bury her late partner Raymond and daughter Anna Dodds in separate funeral services tomorrow.

Mr Halliday (87) and 47-year-old Ms Dodds had been travelling in a Skoda Fabia when it was involved in a collision with a lorry and a Ford Focus at the Moneymore Road junction outside the city on Friday at around 2.45pm.

Mr Halliday had been taking his stepdaughter - Mrs Halliday's daughter from her first marriage - to Banbridge, where she had been due to catch a bus with friends to attend a country music concert in Belfast.

Mr Halliday died at the scene while Ms Dodds, who was single, passed away a short time later in hospital. Two other people were injured.

One, who was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, was reported to be in a stable condition on Saturday, while no update has been given on the condition of the other person, who was receiving treatment in Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital.

Floral tributes for the two have since been left where the collision took place. They are the latest people to lose their lives on the main Belfast to Dublin route in recent years.

Mrs Halliday said yesterday that she was still struggling to take in the shocking news of her loved-ones' deaths.

"It still hasn't hit me," she said, describing her late husband of 25 years as a "true gentleman".

The great-grandmother said her daughter, who lived in Bessbrook, Co Armagh, was "completely devoted" to her nieces and nephews, having already bought them their Christmas presents.

"Anna was going to the Farmers' Bash at the SSE Arena. She loved country and western music. She lived for her family," she said.

"Raymond was a gentleman. He was a brilliant husband. He would make me breakfast in bed every day.

"He was a great storyteller, he could tell hundreds of jokes. Raymond loved fishing and watching football."

Mrs Halliday said that her husband would have done anything for her daughter, and vice versa. "Anna loved treating him with clothes and Raymond would have taken her anywhere she needed to go," she explained.

While the circumstances of the collision have yet to be established, it occurred at one of the A1's gap junctions, where vehicles can turn right across the central reservation.

Mrs Halliday urged the authorities to take action to make safety improvements on the A1 amid fresh concerns at the number of fatal collisions on the route since 2014.

In May Co Down man Karl Heaney (27) died in a two-vehicle collision between Banbridge and Dromore, while in 2015 three young male friends were killed while travelling to Newry.

The previous year two nuns, Sisters Marie Duddy and Frances Forde, were killed in a collision involving an unmarked police vehicle.

Upper Bann MLA Carla Lockhart said that in light of the latest crash, capital funding should be made available in order to close off the remaining gaps in junctions.

"Discussions have been taking place on how we can close (these off without) inconveniencing local residents and frequent users," she explained.

Ms Dodds and Mr Halliday will be laid to rest in graveyards at Ryans Presbyterian Church, Newry, and St Luke's Parish Church, Mullaglass, respectively tomorrow.

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