Co Derry classroom assistant Shauna McSorley 'achieved so much in her 20 short years'

Shauna McSorley (20) was buried in her native Dungiven yesterday. Picture from Facebook
John Monaghan

A YOUNG woman who died just over a week after being admitted to hospital "achieved so much in her 20 short years".

Tributes have been paid to Shauna McSorley, a classroom assistant at an Irish language school, whose funeral took place in Dungiven, Co Derry yesterday.

Parish priest Father Seamus Kelly told mourners at St Patrick's Church that it seemed "so unfair that a beautiful young girl in the prime of life is today leaving this world".

"I don't think I should be here this morning. You should not be here this morning. Shauna should be at her work in the Gaelscoil," he said.

"We still have no understanding why or what happened her good health in so short a time... she had many dreams to fulfil."

It is understood Ms McSorley was admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital just over a week before her death last Thursday and had undergone hundreds of blood tests.

The Irish language enthusiast combined her work with special needs pupils at Gaelscoil Léim an Mhadaidh in Limavady with studying for an Irish degree at Ulster University.

A former pupil at St Patrick's College in her native Dungiven, she had completed an Irish diploma at Magee aged 18 and also achieved a beauty qualification.

A toy dog, a jersey, her diploma certificate and a fáinne were brought to the altar yesterday and placed beside her photo, reflecting her "great loves" of dogs, Irish culture and language.

"Nothing can prepare us for death when it comes so suddenly... she achieved so much in her 20 short years," said Fr Kelly.

Irish language activist and former Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín said Ms McSorley had been among the first set of pupils to attend the Naíscoil Neachtain in Dungiven.

"I think the tributes that have been paid by the Irish language community show the regard in which she was held."

Gaelscoil Léim an Mhadaidh principal Charmaine Deery said Shauna "put her hand to everything" in the school.

"She was an absolutely brilliant assistant, always smiling and happy to help. She had a brilliant way with the children and a great sense of humour," she said.

"A lot of kids saw her as a big sister and she was only 20 years old so I think she knew what it was like to be a big kid at heart."

Ms McSorley's coffin was carried from St Patrick's for burial in the adjoining cemetery as the song Let Her Go by Passenger was played.

She is survived by her parents James and Martina and brother Sean.

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