The joy of Christmas has been replaced by “disbelief, anguish and broken hearts” for the family and friends of Amy Loughrey, a priest has told mourners at her funeral.
Father Michael Canny was speaking to the hundreds who attended Requiem Mass for the 25-year-old Derry woman, who was killed in a road traffic collision at Fahan in Inishowen, County Donegal on Thursday night. Amy was returning home from work at The Red Door restaurant when the tragedy occurred.
There were poignant scenes as mourners, led by Amy’s parents Paul and Mary and her sister Jenny, gathered at St Columb’s Church in the Waterside for the service on Tuesday morning.
Fr. Canny was joined by Fr. Sean O’Donnell and Rev. Kate McAteer, priest at the Church of Ireland Holy Trinity Church, Culmore, where some of Amy’s relatives are members of the congregation.
Fr Canny told those gathered: “The sadness and sense of loss on an occasion like this is always great and is further magnified as our communities are celebrating the great family feast of Christmas.
“When my colleague Fr Sean O’Donnell and myself arrived at the Loughrey family home in the early hours of Friday morning, I could see people de-Christmasing. Tinsel, wrapped gifts, decorations, cards and symbols of Christmas wholly inappropriate. Likewise, the lights on the Christmas tree were put out - symbolising how a bright light in the Loughrey family had also been extinguished.
“The hope and joy of Christmas had been replaced by disbelief, anguish and broken hearts because Amy would not be coming home alive again.
“An event 12 miles away and a knock on the door meant that life was utterly changed, and would never been the same again for the family and indeed many more people.”
Fr Canny spoke of Amy’s love of travelling, and her time in Gran Canaria teaching English as a foreign language but said that “no matter where she was, she always loved coming back home”.
“While Amy’s death will be another statistic, when the final number of road deaths for 2016 are compiled, the true reality is that in this tragedy the light of a bubbly, full of life and always giving person, who had so much more to give has been extinguished,” he added.
Interment took place afterwards at Ardmore Cemetery.