Wednesday 26 October 2016

Tragic Jessica was 'full of fun and full of love'

Martin Grant

Published 04/08/2016 | 02:30

‘Dream child Jessica brought massive joy to so many’
‘Dream child Jessica brought massive joy to so many’

An eight-year-old child who was killed in a farming accident has been remembered as a "miracle baby" that brought "massive joy".

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Warm tributes poured in last night to Jessica Needham who died tragically on Tuesday following an accident involving a tractor on her family farm at Lismolin, Islandeady, Co Mayo.

She was taken to Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar, and was pronounced dead at 5.40pm on Tuesday evening.

Close relatives and friends consoled her loving parents Pat and Michelle, and her six-year-old sister Grace, last night.

Family friend and local parish priest Fr Pat Donnellan said the family and the entire community are devastated by Jessica's tragic death.

Fr Donnellan, who baptised Jessica when she was born and officiated at her parents' wedding, recalled how she was playing with friends at a local festival just last Sunday.

"She was full of fun and full of love... our community is numbed and devastated at the loss of a beautiful little girl," Fr Donnellan said.

"In her short time she brought massive joy to so many people. She was the dream child really, a miracle baby.

"Her granny (Margaret) was telling me that she was a great little girl to give hope. She was full of love, and would give her granny a hug everyday and tell her how much she loved her.

"Jessica's father, mother and granny, are all in a deep sense of shock and sadness."

Jessica's devastated teachers, friends and parents gathered last night at St Paul's National School where she had attended school. An emotional school principal, Tony Varley, said Jessica was the "life and soul" of the school.

Jessica attended the school alongside her younger sister Grace, and was looking forward to returning as a second-class student in September.

"I often thought that Jessica was the sunshine, when she arrived the sun would come out," Mr Varley said.

"Jessica will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to know her."

Jessica's remains will repose at her home today. Her funeral Mass will take place at St Patrick's Church, Islandeady, at 10am on Friday.

Irish Independent

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