Families express thanks for support as Michaela's funeral arrangements confirmed
Published 14/01/2011 | 11:49
Details have been released confirming plans for the funeral of Michaela Harte on Monday in the small church in Tyrone where she married Mr McAreavey days before her murder in Mauritius.
The Harte and McAreavey families issued a joint statement thanking friends, relatives and the public for their support, and detailing the funeral arrangements.
The families said: "We are all grateful for the prayers and support we have received from all parts of Ireland, the UK and across the world. This support has helped sustain us physically, emotionally and spiritually through these darkest of days.
"The distance from Mauritius has only increased our sense of isolation and separation from our beloved Michaela and her husband John.
"Now, as two heartbroken and devastated families, together we can share our grief and our love for Michaela and provide support and comfort to John.
"As Michaela returns home, we respectfully ask for full privacy to allow our two families, united in sorrow, to have the space and time to spend with a much-loved wife, daughter and sister.
"Therefore the wake and private family service on the evening of Friday January 14 will be for immediate family only."
The families said today marked "the final stage of Michaela's journey home" and that she was being accompanied by her widower, brother Mark, father-in-law Brendan and brother-in-law Brian.
The grieving party will fly into George Best Belfast City Airport, after which, they said, Michaela's body will be taken directly to a nearby funeral parlour for a private removal service.
Later it will be taken back to the Harte home in Glencull Road, Ballygawley, for a private family service.
The relatives said anyone wishing to pay their respects can do so at the family home tomorrow and on Sunday. There will be special park-and-ride facilities provided at nearby locations.
It was confirmed that on Monday a Requiem will be held at St Malachy's Church, Ballymacilroy, at 12.30pm. The young newlywed will then be buried in the adjoining cemetery.
Relatives added that they have arranged family flowers for the funeral and have asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to charities formed in memory of two Tyrone gaelic footballers who also died in tragic circumstances - the Cormac (McAnallen) Trust and the Spirit of Paul McGirr Fund.
The families said further details on funeral plans would be made available over the coming days, and their statement added: "We would like to thank the media for their ongoing co-operation and for the sensitivity of the reporting to date. We hope that this continues as we struggle, with God's help, to come to terms with our tremendous loss."