Granny Kathleen McCauley, mum Denise and Claire Kelly.  (1312JB152)
Granny Kathleen McCauley, mum Denise and Claire Kelly. (1312JB152)

The family of Claire Kelly from Dungiven, who lost her life at the weekend, have spoken of their heartache at the loss of such a kind and caring girl.

The “popular” 20 year-old died on Sunday morning when the car in which she was travelling crashed in Claudy. The Police Ombudsman is investigating.

Speaking yesterday, her family say the former St. Patrick’s College, Dungiven, student will be sadly missed by many.

“Claire was full of life. She was very kind and caring. She did voluntary work at Glenshane Care in Dungiven and nothing was ever too much trouble for her, no matter what it was.”

The family say they have been overwhelmed by the support shown to them, and say Claire had a very large circle of friends.

“She was very bubbly and outgoing and very kind, especially to her great granny, her granny, her mother and her family. She just loved her music and got on with everybody. She would always put everyone else before herself. We are heartbroken.”

St Patrick’s College principal Anne Sands paid tribute to her former pupil, describing her as a quiet, caring and beautiful young lady.

“The school community, the Board of Governors and the staff and pupils extend their sympathy to the entire Kelly family,” she said. “Claire was a very unassuming girl, and very elegant in the way she would carry herself. She was a beautiful young girl and she had done well in her GCSEs.

“She was lovely and bright and kind. It’s just heartbreaking and I really feel for the young people because another one of their friends is gone.”

Limavady Mayor and local Sinn Fein councillor Sean McGlinchey said his heart went out to Claire’s family.

“This is a terrible tragedy and everyone is very saddened by the news. It’s awful, and I know the entire community will rally around and offer what support they can to the family.”

The family say Claire will be sadly missed by her mother Denise, brothers Harry and Packie and sisters Lorraine and Annie, and by her great grandmother, Granny Gwee, grandmother Kathleen McAuley, wider family circle and close friends.

The family paid tribute to the emergency services, including the fire service, police and ambulance service and staff in Altnagelvin Hospital.

They also thanked the local clergy and the good neighbours of Claire’s grandmother and her very close friends.

Friends of Claire have inundated her Facebook page with messages of sympathy.

One posting read: “Claire gone but not forgotten” while another read “Too young you’ll be missed by a massive amount of people.”

The funeral Mass will take place today at St. Patrick’s Church in Dungiven at 10am.