Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Hundreds gather for double funeral

Hundreds of mourners have packed into a cathedral for the funerals of a mother and daughter who died after being found critically injured at a hotel.

Margaret McDonough, 52, and her daughter, Nicola, 23, were found at the Premier Inn in Greenock, Inverclyde, on the morning of Friday May 10. Foster parent Margaret, who was discovered in a bedroom, died first while her social work student daughter, who was found in the hotel hallway, died later in hospital, where she had been in a critical condition.

Mourners got the chance to say their final farewells to the pair at a requiem mass in their hometown of Paisley, Renfrewshire. It was standing room only at the large St Mirin's Cathedral in the centre of town as hundreds of mourners gathered to pay their last respects.

At the request of the family, it is a private event with no members of the media allowed access inside the church. The coffins were in the cathedral overnight but will be carried out at the end of the 40-minute service to a private burial at Hawkhead cemetery, also in Paisley. The pall bearers for Margaret's coffin will be her sons Matthew, 20, and Michael, 31. Nicola's coffin will be carried by her father Tom, 52, and brother Kevin, 32.

The roads surrounding the cathedral are expected to be brought to a temporary standstill as the hearses make their way from the cathedral to the cemetery. No family members are scheduled to speak at the funeral but Father John Tormie, conducting the service, will be giving a eulogy.

A number of hymns will be sung, including Here I Am Lord, Abide With Me, I Watch The Sunrise and Walk With Me. The readings are from the Book of Lamentations and The Letter of St Paul to the Romans.

Events surrounding the deaths of the two women in mysterious circumstances are still being investigated by Police Scotland, who are trying to piece together their last movements. Officers have previously confirmed they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

The pair had been spotted in Paisley on Thursday May 9 at about 9am before they travelled to the Balloch area in West Dunbartonshire, where they were later seen travelling in a Suzuki Swift vehicle. It is known that the women checked into the Premier Inn at about 3.50pm the day before they were found injured, left a short time later and then returned between 12.30am and 1am the next day.

White flowers spelling out the word "Sister" could be seen being carried out of the requiem mass and into the hearses set to bear the coffins. Other bouquets, one with white lillies and one with pink and yellow flowers, were also taken into the black cars which waited outside the service.

The family invited other mourners to make a donation to children's charity Barnardo's as an alternative to sending flowers. A note in the Order of Service said: "As people who dedicated so much of their lives to caring for some of the least fortunate children and young people in our community, we feel that Margaret and Nicola would find this a fitting tribute to their memory and, even in their passing, would allow the good work they so valued to continue."


From Belfast Telegraph