Northern Ireland news

Poignant tributes paid at joint funeral for young Derry road victims

Shauna and Kelsey Marie Stokes were buried following Requiem Mass at St Joseph's Church, Galliagh.
Seamus McKinney

A PRIEST at the funeral of two cousins from Derry killed in a road crash in England heard they had both made an "impact on so many people despite being young."

Shauna (17) and her cousin Kelsey Marie Stokes, aged three, died when the car they were travelling in was involved in a two-vehicle collision in Co Durham on September 2. They had travelled to England to celebrate Shauna’s birthday along with her twin sister, Kelly.

Five other people were injured in the accident, including Kelsey Marie’s mother Michelle who remains in hospital in England.

The two victims were members of a large family from the Galliagh area.

Large numbers gathered outside St Joseph’s Church in Galliagh yesterday as Requiem Mass for the two young girls took place. Many mourners wore pictures of the victims on white and pink shirts.

Shauna Stokes (left) and Kelsey Marie Stokes died in the collision

As the victims’ coffins were brought from St Joseph’s a small aeroplane circled overhead carrying a banner with the words “2 Beautiful Angels Left 4 Heaven”.

Three Patrons parish priest Fr Michael McCaughey told mourners the tragedy had caused a sense of loss among the two girls’ families. He said Shauna and Kelsey Marie had been loved and cared for during their short lives.

Fr McCaughey said: “Both lives made an impact on so many people despite being young.”

He said Shauna was a typical teenager who had a great sense of fun and enjoyed country and western music and playing football. Fr McCaughey said Kelsey Marie had idolised her father and was a “real daddy’s girl”.

He said: “In her short time of life, Kelsey Marie Mary Maggie was loved by so many.”

There were poignant scenes as relatives of the two girls bowed to kiss their coffins as they returned to their seats after the distribution of Communion. The small congregation inside St Joseph’s also applauded a series of messages and poems from family members who were unable to attend.

In an emotional message to the congregation mourners heard how Kelsey Marie’s mother, Michelle told how she would miss her young daughter every day.

“You are my princess,” Mrs Stokes said.

Following Requiem Mass, the two girls were laid to rest at Derry City Cemetery and at Park in Co Derry.

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