Mourners gathered at Ballymore Parish Church last week for the funeral of former Banbridge High School student Shannon Weir.
The 20 year-old died in a car crash on the Legacorry Road, Richhill and Canon Shane Forster told mourners that the tragedy had shocked the whole community.
He said it was difficult to take in the reality and enormity of what had happened.
But he urged mourners not to reflect on how Shannon died, rather how she lived. “Let us remember the character she was, the crazy things she did, the funny things she said,” he told them.
He said show jumping was Shannon’s great joy, adding that on the day of the crash, she was working with horses, “doing what she loved most in life”.
Her equestrian friends formed a guard of honour at the funeral.
Shannon was the daughter of Ronnie and the late Una and younger sister of Samantha.
Her early years were spent in Tandragee before the family moved to Moira. Following another house move, Shannon attended Banbridge High School. During that time she returned to Tandragee to live.
Canon Forster told the congregation, “Like many other young girls in those early carefree days she learnt to play the piano and went to ballet classes but it was the riding lessons, which she started taking when she was in her early years at primary school, that gave her the most satisfaction and joy and a lifelong love of horses.
“When she left the high school, Shannon did various courses at colleges in Enniskillen and Newry but nothing quite worked out, nothing seemed to be the right match for her and everything led back to horses and her love of all things equestrian.
“Show jumping was Shannon’s great joy... and she was always sure of her dad’s support in whatever she was doing.”
The minister said Shannon was the apple of her daddy’s eye, and that they never parted without the words “I love you”.
“Ronnie was always there for her, indeed for both of his girls, supporting them and encouraging them and just being there for them especially in difficult times,” he said, including the death of their mother three years ago.
At the end of last year Ronnie and Shannon went to Australia to spend time with Samantha - “a wonderful time which created wonderful treasured memories.”
He said that in the past six months Shannon was happier than she had been for a very long time. She had met her boyfriend Eddie Hale and they were making plans for holidays and the future.
He also prayed for Shannon’s friend Lucy Cloughan (17) who was seriously injured in the accident.