‘She was a beacon of light, the happiest, kindest soul’ – funeral of Rebecca Browne hears tributes to much-loved hairdresser
The 21-year-old was tragically killed in a road collision in Donegal last Sunday
Mourners at the funeral mass of a young Derry woman who died following a road collision heard how she was someone who was "loved and respected by everyone she met”.
Rebecca Browne (21), from the Galliagh area of Derry, died after being struck by a Garda patrol car in Donegal in the early hours of last Sunday.
The collision has been referred to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC).
Fr Michael McCaughey told mourners at St Joseph's Church in Galliagh that Ms Browne's family have been overwhelmed with gratitude from people who sent messages of condolence since her passing.
He added that the young woman, who was a hairdresser by profession, had a "place in the lives, plans and expectations of many people".
Fr McCaughey told the congregation that a picture of Ms Browne was placed in the family home this week with the message: "Our family chain is broken and nothing is the same."
"What is remarkable is the care, love and sense of neighbourhood and friendship since [Ms Browne's death]; people coming together in grief and sharing memories," he said.
The priest described Ms Browne as someone who loved taking photographs and capturing memories. She would sometimes get her father to participate in TikTok videos.
"She was a people person, someone who brought out the good in everyone," he said.
"She was loved and respected by everyone she met. Rebecca had an impressive talent and a rapport with people, from her clients as a hairdresser to her family and friends."
Fr McCaughey said Ms Browne had worked hard through school and in learning her trade, which she was passionate about.
"She valued time and valued people, she enjoyed fun and we can see that expression of love in recent days. Rebecca loved music – anything as long as it was loud. She loved being pampered, she radiated a confidence and was like a porcelain doll, as someone described her.
"Today we think not of what Rebecca could or would do, but what she has done and the memories she has created for those around her.”
Fr McCaughey read out a poem written by Ms Browne's aunt and godmother, Karina Smith.
"Most angels shine in heaven with a halo around their head, but Rebecca – she'll be glowing with a shining star instead," it read.
"Because in life she was a beacon of light, the happiest, kindest soul, loved by everyone she met. To sing and laugh her only goal.
"The life and soul of a party, so happy every day. A smile forever on her face, she will be missed in every way.
"Stars will only twinkle beside her, she's the superstar up in the sky. Her light will shine in all our hearts and with every tear we cry, a shining star of beauty.
"Rebecca, you really were the best. Our broken hearts are filled with memories of you and for that we're truly blessed.
"Keep shining down upon us, for we will miss that special light and know your face will paint our mind every single night."
It is understood Ms Browne was returning from a night out when the tragedy happened early last Sunday.
She had been away with friends and was staying in Ludden, Buncrana, close to where the accident happened.