Wednesday 17 January 2018

Girl (8) killed in farm tragedy was only survivor of quadruplets

Tributes paid to 'little angel' Jessica Needham who died tragically on family farm

Jessica Needham
Jessica Needham

Martin Grant

An eight-year-old girl who tragically died in a farming accident has been remembered as a “little angel” that brought “so much joy”.

Warm tributes poured in last night to Jessica Needham (8) who sadly died 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, but was pronounced dead at 5.40pm on Tuesday evening.

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

The little girl tragically killed in a farm accident this week was the only survivor of a group of quadruplets when she was born.

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 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 lose of a beautiful little girl,” Fr Donnellan told the Herald.

“In her short time she brought massive joy to so many people. She was the dream child really.

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

“Needless to say Jessica’s father, mother and granny, who lives next door, are all in a deep sense of shock and sadness.”

Fr Donnellan added that los­ing a child is a “parent’s worst nightmare” and the local com­munity would come together to support the family.

Jessica’s devastated teachers, friends and fam­ily gathered last night at St Paul’s National School which she attended.

Principal Tony Varley, who broke down in tears paying tribute to Jessica, said the little girl 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. The Needham fam­ily have a long history in the community and would be very involved.

“Jessica’s father Pat would be one of the first parents to arrive at the school in the morning, and the two ladies would bound into school.

“It is a terrible tragedy for the Needham family, the ex­tended family, our own school and the whole community of Islandeady.”

Mr Varley added that the school has brought in counsel­lors to help Jessica’s

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