Belfast Telegraph

US pals of Tyrone woman Kyra McKinley killed in two-vehicle collision recall her 'loving smile'

By Claire McNeilly

Friends of a Co Tyrone car crash victim with "a loving, special smile" have said her tragic death has left a hole in their hearts.

Kyra McKinley died in hospital from injuries sustained in a two-vehicle collision on Deverney Road in her native Omagh on Saturday morning.

It is the second tragedy to bring heartache to the McKinleys in just 18 months, after Kyra's grandfather died on the family farm following a bull attack.

The 21-year-old had been undertaking a five-minute drive from her parents' home to her boyfriend's.

She was flown by Air Ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she underwent emergency surgery, but later died surrounded by her family.

Les Sage, Ulster Project coordinator in Salt Lake City, America, in which Kyra participated six years ago, said she remembers her for her altruism.

"Everyone in Salt Lake City who knew Kyra now have a hole in our hearts," she said.

"When she came to us as a participant in the Ulster Project, she not only came physically, but she came emotionally.

"She was full of fun energy and she gave everyone she touched a silent hug and was always showing her loving, special smile."

Ms Sage said he remembers her "as being one of the teens who was not as much concerned with herself as she was with everyone else".

"She would come to me often with her big smile and say, 'I need to talk with you', before going on to tell me what another teen was feeling," she said.

"I remember Kyra always being one of the first to volunteer and to help those who didn't want to participate.

"The last thing she wrote to me was 'Les, three words, I LOVE YOU', and we all loved her, too."

Kyra's grandfather, Alex McKinley (75), from Gillygooley outside Omagh, died in March 2017 after being attacked by a bull on the family farm.

Now, almost 18 months on, her heartbroken parents, Raymond and Valerie, older sister Alex, younger brother Glenn, and boyfriend, Matthew, are preparing for her funeral. As a member of Omagh Community Youth Choir, Kyra performed at an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing on August 12.

The Omagh Academy past pupil was an employee of Dickson & Co Insurance Brokers in the town and had just finished her one-year probation period.

Kyra's funeral service will take place at 2pm tomorrow at First Omagh Presbyterian Church. Mrs Bingham will lead Omagh Academy music department at the service and there will also be contributions from Omagh Community Youth Choir.

Rev Jane Nelson, who will officiate alongside Rev Robert Herron, described Kyra as a beautiful young girl, inside and out.

She added: "Kyra was a beloved member of the Gillygooley congregation and the community, whose prayers and thoughts are with the family."

The McKinley family have requested donations to the rescue team from Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, who helped them cherish their final moments with Kyra.

Belfast Telegraph

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