Thursday 19 January 2017

'Donna is with us and will always be with us, no matter what' - Brother of tragic cyclist bids farewell to the 'kindest, sweetest sister you can imagine'

Published 10/09/2016 | 13:24

Partner, Anne Marie Ryan and sister, Leanne, either side of the coffin after the funeral mass of Donna Fox at S.S. Peter and Paul's Church, Balbriggan Credit: Damien Eagers
Partner, Anne Marie Ryan and sister, Leanne, either side of the coffin after the funeral mass of Donna Fox at S.S. Peter and Paul's Church, Balbriggan Credit: Damien Eagers

The cyclist who died in road accident in Dublin’s north inner city last week was remembered yesterday as “beautiful person” who was “taken too soon” at her funeral Mass in Balbriggan.

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Donna Fox, 30, was killed tragically on Tuesday morning when she was hit by a truck at a busy junction at Seville Place while cycling to work. 

Scores of relatives, friends and colleagues packed SS St Peter and Paul’s church in Balbriggan yesterday to pay tribute to her.

In his homily at her funeral mass, Fr Chris Derwin said: “No one could have foreseen the tragic events of that day, but it has happened. She didn’t die alone, she had people with her, people who supported her in her final moments. That’s what we need to do with each other, support each other, be there for each other, extend the hand of friendship to one another.”

The hearse arrives for the funeral mass of Donna Fox at S.S. Peter and Paul's Church, Balbriggan Credit: Damien Eagers
The hearse arrives for the funeral mass of Donna Fox at S.S. Peter and Paul's Church, Balbriggan Credit: Damien Eagers
Partner, Anne Marie Ryan and sister, Leanne, either side of the coffin after the funeral mass of Donna Fox at S.S. Peter and Paul's Church, Balbriggan Credit: Damien Eagers

Fr Derwin remembered Donna as “a kind, loving and tender person, a girl with a gentle spirit.”

“Those who know her agree she was sporty, active, lived a healthy lifestyle and loved her dog and horses. I believe she had a jockey’s license,” he said.

Earlier in the ceremony, Donna’s little nephew, Callum, offered up a prayer to “cyclists keep safe on the roads”.  Other family members placed her favourite Halloween mask, a basket of health products and a photograph of her beloved pony on her coffin, as symbols of her life.

Donna worked as a health and nutrition expert with the Meagher’s chemist chain at their Barrow Street outlet.  She was on her way to work there when she was killed.  At the time of her death, she was looking forward to marrying her partner, Anne Marie Ryan, and the couple had plans to build a house together.

In his eulogy, Donna’s brother, Neil, thanked amongst others the community of Sherriff Street, along with gardai and emergency services, for helping Donna at the time of her accident. He said five years ago, he stood in the same church, on the occasion of his mother, Catherine’s death.

“There was the three of us, Donna, Leanne and me.  My mam had died. I suppose a lot of people have text or rang in the last few days and said, well at least she’s with your Mammy now, you know? There is some sort of comfort in that.”

Anne Marie Ryan and her partner Donna Fox
Anne Marie Ryan and her partner Donna Fox

“We sort of did everything together,” he said. “We really were a team, the three of us.  The last couple of years, I never had to worry about Donna and Leanne, I never had to worry about them, because they have always got each other. They had very similar likes, very similar interests and humour really. They loved each other.”

She was the "kindest, sweetest sister you can imagine", he said: "Leanne said she didn’t have a sister anymore. But she does. Donna is with us and will always be with us, no matter what." 

Donna is survived by her partner, Anne-Marie, her father Peter, her sister Leanne and brother Neil, her nephew Callum and her aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.

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