‘A precious jewel that shone bright and beautiful’ – Leona Harper, 14, was buried after the Creeslough tragedy

At the funeral of a 14-year-old girl killed in the Creeslough tragedy today, she was said to be her parents’ “little miracle”.

Eona Harper went to the Applegreen shop in the village of Donegal last Friday afternoon to buy an ice cream before an overnight stay at her friend’s house.

However, the teenager was killed in the explosion that ripped through the store. Another nine people died in the tragedy.

Leona, who lived in Letterkenny, was buried this afternoon after a funeral service at St Mary’s Church in the nearby village of Ramelton. She was the seventh blast victim to be buried.

Classmates of Leona’s from Mulroy College, Milford, and students from her former national school, Scoil Mhuire, in Ramelton, formed an honor guard as her coffin was carried into the church.

Teammates from Letterkenny Rugby Club, for which Leona played, were also part of the honor guard.

A Liverpool FC flag hung on a fence by the church in honor of Leona’s love for the team.

The mourners were led by their parents, Hugh and Donna, and their brothers, Anthony and Jamie.

President Michael D. Higgins was among those who attended the service.

At the funeral, Rev. Martin Carney, vicar of Ramelton, said he had permission from Leona’s parents to explain why she was so special to them.


The hearse carrying the coffin of 14 year old Leona Harper arrives at St Mary’s Church in Ramelton, Co Donegal for the funeral mass for her. Image: PA

When Leona’s older brother Anthony was born, Father Carney said his parents were told they could not have any more children.

“But seven years later something unexpected happened. Leona has arrived, hence the small miracle,” he said.

“You, your mother and father, speak of your daughter as a jewel. It’s a line we often use about someone we love, but considering how unexpected and welcome Leona was, your daughter was a precious gem indeed.

“Think of gems. Gems shine, gems sparkle, gems attract. Leona shone brightly and beautifully all her short life. She was bursting with energy and fun and drew so many friends into her circle.”


A Liverpool FC flag is flown as members of Letterkenny Rugby Club join mourners outside St Mary’s Church in Ramelton, Co Donegal for the funeral service of 14-year-old Leona Harper on Friday. Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Father Carney said Leona’s four anchors in life are “family, friends, hobbies and school.”

Besides football and rugby, she also loved animals and tractors, among other things.

Father Carney also spoke of her love for her parents and her two brothers.

He said the impact of people’s lives on others should not be judged by their age.

“It’s amazing what anyone can pack into their lives. Leona’s life was short and short, but gosh, it was packed to the brim.

“Leona lit her world with a gentle but vivacious character, a unique personality with a distinctive set of talents and interests that were both unforgettable and life-giving to you who love her.”

“It would be a terrible oversight by a young person

to say to life that they left us before they accomplished anything.

“Life should not be measured by our successes or failures, but by the efforts we have made to do good, bring peace and joy and laughter, show love and affection, forgive, forget and new tides to forge.

“Leona may have lived a small life, but she has lived a very fulfilling life. Its brevity will make the post all the more radiant and bright for her family, her friends and her school.”

Earlier this morning another victim of the blast, 49-year-old Martina Martin, was buried after a service in Creeslough.

Tomorrow another victim, 59-year-old Hugh Kelly, the oldest person killed in the blast, will be buried after a service in Creeslough.

The funerals of the latest victims, Robert Garwe, 50, and his five-year-old daughter Shauna, are expected to take place in Creeslough on Saturday.

Mr Garwe is originally from Zimbabwe and his funeral has been postponed to allow relatives time to travel from Africa.

Five of the victims of the blast, the cause of which is still under investigation, were buried earlier this week.

Catherine O’Donnell, 39, and her 13-year-old son James Monaghan were buried after a service in Creeslough yesterday.

James O’Flaherty, 48, who was originally from Australia but lived in the nearby village of Dunfanaghy, was also buried in Derrybeg in Donegal yesterday after a service.

Jessica Gallagher, 24, and Martin McGill, 49, were buried in Creeslough on Tuesday after separate funeral services.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/a-precious-gem-who-shone-brightly-and-beautifully-leona-harper-14-laid-to-rest-after-creeslough-tragedy-42064453.html ‘A precious jewel that shone bright and beautiful’ – Leona Harper, 14, was buried after the Creeslough tragedy

Fry Electronics Team

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