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Friday 30 September 2016

'She was full of life and splendour and goodness' - Tributes paid as tragic teen Tory Johnston is laid to rest

David Kearns

Published 19/07/2015 | 17:18

Family of the late Tory Johnston leaving St Eunan's Cathedral after her requim mass. (North West Newspix)
Family of the late Tory Johnston leaving St Eunan's Cathedral after her requim mass. (North West Newspix)
Some of the huge crowds who attended the requiem mass of the late Tory Johnston Credit: North West Newspix
Credit: North West Newspix
The remains of young Tory Johnston as they were taken into St Eunan's Cathedral Credit: North West Newspix
Loreto Convent school mates hold back their emotions as the remains of Tory Johnston arrives at St Eunan's Cathedral Credit: North West Newspix

A community united in grief today to say a final farewell to a young schoolgirl taken from them in the most tragic of circumstances.

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There were moving scenes today as tragic teenager Tory Johnston was laid to rest in Donegal.

Family of the late Tory Johnton leaving St Eunan's Cathedral after her requiem mass Credit: North West Newspix
Family of the late Tory Johnton leaving St Eunan's Cathedral after her requiem mass Credit: North West Newspix

The happy-go-lucky teen collapsed after apparently suffering a seizure at a Co Donegal nightclub in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

She died at Letterkenny General Hospital just after 6.30am despite valiant attempts by doctors to keep her alive.

Tory Johnston's parents Sammy (Grey suit) and Helen with her sister Amy as her remains leave St Eunan's Cathedral Credit: North West Newspix
Tory Johnston's parents Sammy (Grey suit) and Helen with her sister Amy as her remains leave St Eunan's Cathedral Credit: North West Newspix

Hundreds of family and friends gathered to say their farewell to the young woman as she was laid to rest in Letterkenny.

Tears tripped down the cheeks of her Loreto Convent school-friends who lined the route to the steps of St Eunans Cathedral in their familiar brown uniforms. 

Tory Johnston
Tory Johnston

Tory’s heartbroken family including mum Helen and only sister Amy wore purple ribbons in her memory while her dad Sammy proudly wore a purple tie.

Fr Eamon Kelly said Tory's death had left the community shocked and stunned.

Relatives saying good-byes to Tory Johnston Credit: North West Newspix
Relatives saying good-byes to Tory Johnston Credit: North West Newspix

He said her life had been captured in  series of photographs - one more captivating than the next.

"Life’s bitterness struck on a night of enjoyment, on a night out with friends," he said.

An emotional school firend holds up a photo of her late friend Tory Johnston Credit: North West Newspix
An emotional school firend holds up a photo of her late friend Tory Johnston Credit: North West Newspix

"The harshness of life was struck into our people as sadly Tory’s young life was cut so short.

"The photographs on the wall of Tory’s room are almost in competition for attention, each one capturing a moment of joy, an expression of life, a smile, a laugh, a time of fun with family and friends. 

One of the many heartbreaking words on flowers at the mass Credit: North West Newspix
One of the many heartbreaking words on flowers at the mass Credit: North West Newspix

"With fashion and outfits, trends and styles, Tory was full of life and splendour and goodness, full of the vigour of youth, the holding of beauty, packed to overflowing with kindness, goodness, warmth and loveliness. But you already know that," he added.

Tory loved life, loved family, loved friends, loved living, the teary-eyed congregation heard.

Family of the late Tory Johnston leaving St Eunan's Cathedral Credit: North West Newspix
Family of the late Tory Johnston leaving St Eunan's Cathedral Credit: North West Newspix

Fr Kelly than pleaded with them "Enrich her memory by living your life to the full potential, by telling those around how much you appreciate them and care for them."

For many, his words were simply too much.

A young friend, who had written a special tribute to Ms Johnston, broke down half-way through and could not continue.

Among the gifts brought to the altar was a recent picture of the teen, as well as a little teddy bear.

And just as they had done as she entered her funeral mass, the 17-year-old's heartbroken friends led her from St Eunan's Cathedral.

They guided the hearse down through Letterkenny's Market Square as she had walked so many times on her lunch break-from Loreto Secondary School.

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