Former colleague pays tribute to Surestart founder Loreto Douglas who died in Glenshane accident

Loreto Douglas.
Loreto Douglas.

Tributes have been paid to the late Derry child care administrator, Loreto Douglas, who was tragically killed in a fatal road traffic collision on the Glenshane pass on Wednesday.

Former colleague Seamus Heaney, Chair of Surestart Edenballymore, an organisation which the late Ms Douglas played a pivotal role in founding, said she will be remembered for her warmth and commitment towards ensuring every young child gets off to a good start in life.

Speaking after the PSNI named the 64-year-old Culmore woman as the victim of the collision, which took place near the Ponderosa Public House between Dungiven and Maghera on Wednesday morning, Mr Heaney said her former colleagues were devastated by the loss. He paid warm tribute to a dedicated child care worker who had had a vocation for early years support in the city.

Mr Heaney said: “Really, we all remember her as a very warm person who contributed a lot to the wider project. “Loreto was someone who was totally dedicated and committed to children and families in our area,” added Mr Heaney.

The Surestart chair said that whilst Ms Douglas left the project about five years ago she’d left a long shadow.

“She left us a number of years ago but everyone at the project is just devastated at the news that it was Loreto who died on Wednesday,” he said.

PSNI Inspector Ian Armour continued his appeal for anyone who was travelling on the Glenshane Road on Wednesday morning and who witnessed the collision to contact local police in Limavady or the Collision Investigation Unit on 101 quoting reference number 230 of 23/11/16.

Ms Douglas had been airlifted to hospital in Belfast following the accident but sadly later passed away from her injuries. Four further people were also admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry following the collision.

A spokesperson for the Western Trust confirmed: “Four people were brought to Altnagelvin Hospital’s Emergency Department as a result of the road traffic collision in County Londonderry on Wednesday.”

The Trust confirmed that two people had been treated for minor injuries and had been discharged from the hospital.

The condition of one male admitted following the crash was described as ‘stable’ on Thursday evening.

A female whose condition was described as ‘stable’ when she was admitted to Altnagelvin following the accident was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital on Wednesday night.