Northern Ireland

Family of young Co Antrim woman who died in crash told 2023 had been ‘the greatest year of her life’

Lydia Ross died after a single vehicle crash in Co Derry

THE family of a young Co Antrim woman who died in a crash last week were told that 2023 had been “the best year of her life”.

Lydia Ross (21) from Ballymoney died in hospital after being seriously injured in a crash involving a blue Peugeot 207 on the Curragh Road area of Aghadowey on Thursday evening.

On Friday, pedestrian Joe Rooney (45) from the Mayobridge area in Co Down also died after an early morning crash involving a grey Audi A4 on the Hilltown Road, Co Down.

Ms Ross’ funeral service was held on New Year’s Day at First Ballymoney Presbyterian Church, where family and close friends expressed their thanks for the positive impact of her life.

The Belfast Telegraph reported on Monday that her close friend Sarah said she would remember her “loud, hearty, contagious” laugh, her “long, beautiful ginger hair” and that she was “special, caring, loved.”

Shortly before her death, she had told her: “You know what, 2023 was the best year of my life.”

Her friend added: “And I know there are people here today that were a part of this past year for Lydia, so all I can say is, and I know she would agree, ‘Thank you for the memories, thank you for the moments and thank you for the music’”.

Ms Ross’ sisters Hannah and Mollie delivered a joint tribute to their younger sister, commenting: “What a princess you were.”

“You were perfect in every way, especially your long, strawberry blond hair. We will never forget our dress-up days, such a good taste and style you had, photo shoots have always been our thing, no photo of you could have been bad.

“You were the queen of many things, from prom queen, dancing queen, to gifting and organising events. Christmas was your time to shine with the matching Christmas PJs and beyond thoughtful presents.

“Our memories together are endless, London getaways, and walks on the port. You told us you wanted to live life, as the saying goes, ‘life is too short’.

“You will always be with us in spirit because we’re reminded of you everywhere we go. You made such an impact in your 21 years, you touched more lives than you know.

“The three musketeers will remain forever even though it’s not the same, one third of us is now in Heaven, it’s our loss but Heaven’s gain.”

Her father Paul said her daughter had “loved dressing up and drama,” and had been a much-loved student at Cambridge House Grammar School, where she had been named prom queen at her formal and had always organised events to keep in touch with friends.

Keen Ballymena United fans, he added that he had often enjoyed going to games with his daughter over the last six years.

On Saturday’s game against Glenavon, Ballymena players had paid tribute with a minute’s applause as well as by wearing T-shirts with a photograph of Ms Ross.

Her father continued:”We as a family had the pleasure of having Lydia for 21 years, to say we will miss Lydia is an understatement.

“The house will be so much quieter but we will never stop talking about her or living our lives the way Lydia would have wanted.”