Sunday 15 December 2019

Emotional scenes as mourners gather for funeral of nurse killed on Christmas Day

Jayne Toal Reat and Charlotte Reat
Jayne Toal Reat and Charlotte Reat

Allan Preston

There were emotional scenes as the funeral for Jayne Toal Reat, who was stabbed to death on Christmas Day, took place in Banbridge.

The 43-year-old died in her daughter's arms following the incident, which happened shortly before 6am at a house on Mornington Lane in Lisburn.

Ms Reat had worked in Craigavon Area Hospital. Her daughter Charlotte (21), who lives in Comber, was also injured in the attack.

A 19-year-old man, Nathan Ward, has been charged with her murder and the attempted murder of both Charlotte Reat and his own father Joseph Tweedie, the partner of the late Ms Reat.

Mourners at Thursday's funeral were asked to wear colours powder blue or baby pink colours as they were Jayne's favourite colours.

The funeral took place at St Patrick's Church in Banbridge, followed by a private cremation.

In emotional scenes Charlotte, dressed in a blue coat and still bearing cuts to her face, spent some time saying goodbye to her mother outside the church while placing her hands on the coffin.

Parish Priest, Canon Liam Stevenson, said the devoted mother had been baptised in the same church over 40 years ago.

“We have all been shocked, upset and deeply troubled when news of her untimely death began to circulate on Christmas day,” he said.

“Those who knew Jayne well would have expected to be celebrating... but the opposite was to be the reality for all Jayne’s family circle and friends.”

“Instead they were trying to absorb the reality of a sudden, unforeseen and violent death. What a contrast to the nativity scene in the stable of Bethlehem.”

Born in Banbridge on March 11, 1974, Ms Reat helped out in her grandmother’s confectionery shop growing up while she studied in St Mary’s Primary and St Patrick’s College.

As an avid art student, Canon Stevenson said some of her work was still on display at her former school.

After moving to Belfast to work in the hospitality industry she married Simon with whom she had Charlotte.

She later relocated to Scotland and Cambridgeshire and resumed her studies, graduating with honours as a mental health nurse, following in her late mother Anne’s footsteps.

“The call of Banbridge, her native town, was strong and she returned with Charlotte and lived across the street from her mother,” continued Canon Stevenson.

“Charlotte and Anne bonded well together as so often happens between granddaughter and grandmother.”

“Jayne’s mother fell ill and she helped nurse her day and night.”

Turning to her daughter Charlotte, Canon Stevenson said her mother had been proud of her dancing skills which she began to develop aged six.

“She was happy to see (Charlotte) go off to the United States, but insisted on four phone calls daily to keep in touch,” he said.

“It’s a very strong example of the closeness between Charlotte and Jayne.”

He continued: “Jayne found great friendship with Joe and she moved to Lisburn a few years ago to be close to him. “

Concluding, he shared the family’s appreciation for the many messages of loyalty and sympathy towards them.

As the funeral cortege left St Patrick’s, nursing colleagues formed a guard of honour for Ms Reat.

Belfast Telegraph

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