Derry house fire tragedy : Tributes to Heather Diamond who ‘brightened up our days’

Tributes have been paid to local woman Heather Diamond who died after a fire at a house in the city at the weekend.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 6:26 am

Heather was the office manager of Faughan Anglers Ltd and a well known zumba teacher. She tragically died on Sunday morning after a fire at a house on Rossdowney Road. The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.

In a statement issued on Sunday evening, the Faughan Anglers said: “It was a shock to all the directors, present and past, when we learnt this morning of the tragedy that unfolded in Heather’s home.

“Heather has been our office manager for the past 16 seasons, working part-time in the office, and more recently at home. She was known to our many anglers as the face of the company.

Heather Diamond pictured at a 'Meet your Muslim Neighbour' event held in the North West Islamic Centre back in 2018. DER2018GS001

“Always cheerful, she would greet those anglers as they came to renew their permits with a smile, or would phone up the new applicants with good news, or maybe just making light of the fact we needed a new, up to date photograph, because of a receding or greying hairline!

“During this and last season, Heather had been working for us from home, probably more than the two days a week that we asked of her, she was embracing the change to the new online way of working whilst isolating for her own health.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Heather’s family and friends, in this darkest of days. R.I.P. Heather.”

Eglinton Community Hall, where Heather taught zumba dancing, in a post said: “Heather Diamond was a pleasure to be around, she brightened up our days, nothing was too much bother for her.

2012: Heather leading a zumba class with members from Something Special at Eglinton Community Centre.

“Her online classes were a real tonic for all our older people during the last year. There have been many tears shed today and many more in the days to come.”

The spokesperson added: “I have seen many tributes to her today from her Zumba, aerobics classes and Faughan Anglers and we were privileged to have Heather teach dance at Eglinton Hall with all her energy and enthusiasm.

“There are many sad hearts tonight who are missing her.”

Confirming a woman in her 50s had died on Sunday, PSNI Inspector Hamilton said: “Police received a report of the fire at 7:30am. One woman was taken from the property, but tragically died at the scene.

“The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and will be subject to investigation, in liaison with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.”

Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Brian Tierney said: “I want to extend my deepest condolences to her family. Thank you to all those who attended the scene and did their utmost to prevent this tragedy.”

Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan said Heather’s neighbours were “shocked and deeply saddened”. He added: “I also want to pay tribute to the emergency responders who attended the incident this morning for their bravery and professionalism.”

Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson said: “I commend the efforts of the Fire and Rescue Service in attempting to save the woman. My thoughts are with her family, friends and loved ones at this sad time.”

DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton said: “Deeply sorry to hear that a woman has died following a fire. My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family and friends at this time.”

Alliance Councillor Philip McKinney meanwhile said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”