Northern Ireland news

Young mother Hollie Thomson remembered at her funeral for her smile 'that lit up a room'

The funeral of Hollie Thomson as it made its way to St Michael's Church in Finaghy. Picture by Mal McCann
John Breslin

YOUNG mother Hollie Thomson was remembered at her funeral yesterday for her smile "that lit up a room" and the love for the light of her life, daughter Ayla.

Hundreds of family, friends and work colleagues packed into St Michael the Archangel’s Church on Finaghy Road in Belfast to remember the 28-year-old.

Ms Thomson was found dead at a house off the Shaw’s Road on September 11.

A 31-year old man was last week charged with her murder.

Priest Fr Brendan Mullhall told mourners that while marking a "immensely sad and painful" passing, they were also celebrating a short life that touched so many,

"She had a beautiful and unforgettable smile that radiated so much kindness and warmth," he said.

The priest added that "someone said the other day when Hollie walked in, her smile lit up a room, it was like a ray of sunshine" adding that her "big laugh" could be heard long before you saw her.

A "sad procession of people who loved" Ms Thomson followed the hearse from her home in the Greenan area to the church at the corner of the Andersonstown Road.

As the coffin was carried into the church, staff members from the Harberton Special School, where she worked as a teaching assistant, formed a guard of honour.

Singer Niamh McGlinchey sang ‘The Cloud’s Veil’ as the coffin was placed before the altar.

In his homily, Fr Mullhall described a young woman "deeply loved, cherished and appreciated" by all who knew her and a person "who touched the lives of very many, many people".

This was clear by the "huge crowd" gathered for the celebration, from near and far, and the hundreds if not thousands who came to her wake over the last few days, the priest said.

"She was respectful and kind....always there (for) advice and support or a shoulder to cry on," he added.

Fr Mullhall remembered a line he believed Ms Thomson would have enjoyed immensely.


Family and friends at the funeral of Hollie Thomson, the young mother who was murdered in west Belfast, makes its way to St Michaels Church in Finaghy. Picture Mal McCann.


"At the wake yesterday I said to somebody 'are you going to watch the queen’s funeral' and that person said, 'the queen’s funeral, that's tomorrow'," he said.

Mourners heard that as a classroom assistant, Ms Thomson "distinguished herself", at Holy Trinity, Matt Talbot, then for the last number of years at Harberton.

Her natural kindness and her compassion made her the ideal person to work with young people, particularly those with additional needs, the celebrant said, adding she wanted them their potential and make their dreams come true.

She supported them every step of the way, providing hope and resilience, the priest added.

"But above all she loved her family. Her Mum and Dad meant the absolute world to her as did Katie, her wee sister and best friend," Fr Mullhall said.

He added of her daughter Ayla: "Hollie was an absolutely devoted mother and she and Hollie shared an unbreakable and very special bond".

"There was an enormous amount of joy and happiness in the relationship".

A private family cremation service will be held tomorrow.

Northern Ireland news