Schools pay tribute to Alana Harkin and Thomas Gallagher ahead of funerals

Alana Harkin and Thomas Gallagher.Alana Harkin and Thomas Gallagher.
Alana Harkin and Thomas Gallagher.
The two secondary schools attended by Alana Harkin and Thomas Gallagher have paid poignant tribute to the teenagers ahead of their funerals.

Alana and Thomas, both 18 years old, will be laid to rest following Requiem Masses on Friday in Inishowen.

There has been an outpouring of grief and tributes across the peninsula since the two friends’ untimely deaths in a road traffic collision in Gleneely in the early hours of November 6.

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Moville Community College, where Thomas was in sixth year and his mother, Helen is a teacher, said he was a ‘beloved’ member of the school community.

Principal Caroline Doherty said that, for Thomas, sixth year was ‘a time of great opportunity and excitement whilst getting ready to embark on the next stage of his life’.

“Thomas is described by his teachers as mature beyond his years - a real presence in the classroom. He had a fantastic sense of humour

and a smile that could brighten up any room. His kindness and personality meant that he was loved and respected by both his teachers and his peers.”

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She added that NEPS psychologists are guiding staff in supporting students and school counsellors have also been made available.

Ms Doherty expressed sympathies with Thomas’ mother Helen, ‘who is a dear member of our school staff,’ his father Dominick, his brothers Roán, Dominick, Emmet and his sister Emily ‘as they come to terms with the loss of their dearest Thomas’.

Carndonagh Community School told how Alana Harkin, who only left the school earlier this year, ‘touched our lives in so many ways during her time with us’.

"She was not just a student, she was a shining light in our school community. Her infectious smile, boundless enthusiasm, and unwavering determination left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing her. This week we say goodbye to not only a past pupil but also a good friend, a cherished member of our school community, and a source of inspiration to us all.

“The Management and Staff at Carndonagh Community School wish to express their sincere condolences to the Harkin and Gallagher families following the tragic events on Sunday night.

"Alana Harkin was a recent past-pupil of CCS who left an enduring mark on the school with her bubbly character and good humour.

“Her big personality eclipsed her diminutive stature, typified by her memorable performance as Gretl in The Sound of Music. Her performance on the ski slopes in Austria will also be fondly remembered. Alana had a serious side too. She genuinely was the perfect School Prefect, taking on every challenge the role presented. One breaktime supervision was required every week - Alana did all five. She was also a five-star member of the team at Simpson's Restaurant. She will be missed by all who knew her, and by all who briefly met her.

"Alana possessed a kindness and empathy that was unparalleled. She had a rare gift for making everyone feel valued and included, and she never hesitated to offer a helping hand to those in need. Alana played an active role in Student Voice and successfully advocated on behalf of the student body, making many contributions to improving the student experience within the school.

“As we bid farewell to Alana, let us take comfort in knowing that her spirit lives on in our hearts and in the countless lives she touched. We honour her memory by continuing to live our lives with the same kindness, compassion, and determination that Alana exemplified. While we grieve, let us also remember the joy, love, and inspiration she brought into our lives. Let her memory serve as a reminder that life is precious and fragile, and that we must cherish every moment and the people we hold dear. Rest in peace, Alana. You will forever remain in our hearts, and your light will continue to shine in the lives of those you touched. It is heart-breaking to think that such a bright flame has been extinguished far too soon.”

Alana Harkin’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11am in St. Mary’s Church, Bocan, Culdaff. Thomas Gallagher’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Mary’s Church, Ballybrack, Moville at 2pm.

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