Family in moving tribute to tragic GAA star Karen Coyles
The FAMILY of Ballycastle woman Karen Coyles, whose body was washed up in Scotland, said she is now "safe in the arms of her beloved mother".
The well-known camogie player (47) disappeared on September 11, sparking a massive land and sea search along the north coast.
She was reported missing after failing to show for work at the Biomedical Sciences Institute at the University of Ulster in Coleraine.
Karen was chairwoman of Ballycastle Camogie Club and had just returned from Dublin where her team had won the All-Ireland camogie sevens.
A body was recovered on the Mull of Kintyre last Thursday and was identified as Karen on Saturday.
A PSNI spokeswoman said: “Strathclyde police have confirmed that a body found off the coast of Kintyre is that of Karen Coyles. Police are not treating her death as suspicious.”
Karen lived on her own and was one of four sisters from a close-knit family. Their father Rab was described as “devastated”. Their mother is deceased.
In a statement relatives thanked “family, friends and searchers” for “all the kind words, prayers and support received throughout the search for Karen”.
“We are devastated at the loss of a beautiful, talented and beloved daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt and friend, but are comforted in the knowledge that Karen is now safe in the arms of her beloved mother. She will always and forever be in our hearts.”
The statement said the family had been “overwhelmed by the generosity” of the people of Ballycastle and the surrounding areas, in particular GAA members who came out in their hundreds to help search for Ms Coyles.
Ballycastle Camogie Club also issued a statement thanking those who came out to search.
Prof Hugh McKenna of the UU said: “She was a highly-valued, popular and respected member of staff who made an excellent contribution to the work of the School of Biomedical Sciences Research Institute.”
Staff from Ballycastle Community Mental Health Team were offering support at the weekend to anybody involved in the search and support efforts.
Karen Coyles was reported missing after she failed to show up for work at the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute at the University of Ulster in Coleraine on September 12. Her car was later found at the gates of McQuillan's GAA club where she played camogie.