Belfast Telegraph

Heartfelt tributes to former teacher killed in collision with bus

By Donna Deeney

The woman who lost her life in a road accident on the Moneynick Road near Randalstown on Sunday was former school principal Heather Neill.

The 58-year-old, who was understood to be from Lisburn, was previously the head at Dromore High.

She had also been head of business studies for 20 years.

Mrs Neill was married to David and had two children, daughter Holly and son Scott.

She died at the scene after the car she was driving collided with a Translink Goldline bus en route to Londonderry.

In the immediate aftermath of the crash, which occurred on a notorious stretch of the road just before 3pm, several people left their vehicles and offered assistance until the emergency services arrived.

The driver of the bus and its 20 passengers did not suffer any serious injuries.

Among those who paid tribute on Facebook was Renee Marshall.

She wrote: "I'm lost for words Heather Neill you were a wonderful teacher, colleague and friend.

"All the pupils loved you especially my Chris with your wacky hair colour, your 3,4 inch heels - how you walked in them all day I don't know. You always had a smile on your face every day I loved working with you.

"You will be so missed by all, thinking of your loved ones."

Sharon Sparks added: "Such a wonderful teacher. Totally heartbreaking and a tremendous loss to all that knew her.

"My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this difficult time."

Mrs Neill had been involved in the Lisburn Christian Fellowship, which also paid tribute online.

"This has been a tremendous shock to all who know her and especially to her family for whom we ask you to remember in your prayers," it said.

"While Heather's vibrant, unique personality, enthusiasm and dedication to her Lord are things that we will always remember and associate with Heather, she is now in heaven with her Lord and no doubt praising Him with the same enthusiasm and adoration which characterised her praise of Him while among us.

"If there are flags in heaven it's likely Heather will be waving the biggest one she can find!"

A spokeswoman for Translink said the company had offered welfare support to the driver.

She said: "We can confirm that an incident occurred on Sunday, February 11 near the junction of the Moneynick Road and Gloverstown Road involving a car and the 1.30pm Goldline 212 coach service travelling from Derry to Belfast.

Emergency services attended and there were no reported injuries to bus passengers at the scene.

"There were approximately 20 passengers on board this service and an onward bus transfer was arranged.

"A full Translink investigation is under way.

"Our thoughts are with everyone affected and we would like to thank all those who responded to this incident, caring for our staff, customers and members of the public."

It is the second time someone has lost their life on the Moneynick Road recently. Shannon McQuillan (19) from Dunloy died when she was struck by a van near Toomebridge in the early hours of Saturday, January 20.

Mrs Neill's funeral will be on Saturday at 10am at Lisburn Christian Fellowship, and then on to Roselawn Crematorium for 12pm.

Belfast Telegraph

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