Monday 19 August 2019

Lyra McKee planned to propose to her partner next month, funeral of murdered journalist hears

President Michael D. Higgins comforts Lyra McKee's partner Sara Canning after the murdered journalist's coffin at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast
Charles McQuillan/Pool via REUTERS
President Michael D. Higgins comforts Lyra McKee's partner Sara Canning after the murdered journalist's coffin at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast Charles McQuillan/Pool via REUTERS
Sara Canning (left), the partner of Lyra McKee
Mourners wearing Harry Potter scarves at the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Theresa May during the funeral service for murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Floral tributes at the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee
Mourners embrace ahead of the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
A mourner wearing a Gryffindor scarf arrives for the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, Northern Ireland April 24, 2019. Brian Lawless/Pool via REUTERS
Chief Constable George Hamilton (right) with Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin speaking to media after the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Mourners, including one wearing a Gryffindor scarf, wait for the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Mourners listen to the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee outside St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.
Mourners arrives for the funeral of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, British Prime Mnister Theresa May and President Michael D Higgins before the funeral service for murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Theresa May leave the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee

Gareth Cross

LYRA McKee had been planning to propose to partner Sara Canning before she was murdered last week, her funeral has heard.

In a moving tribute Lyra's friend Stephen Lusty revealed that she had been planning to propose on a trip to New York next month.

Lyra McKee: A journalist in the true sense of the word
Lyra McKee: A journalist in the true sense of the word

Mr Lusty told a packed St Anne's Cathedral that Lyra had shown him pictures of the engagement ring she had picked out for Sara just hours before she was murdered.

Ms McKee was shot dead in Derry last Thursday night, after rioting in the Creggan area.

Dissident republican group the New IRA has claimed responsibility for her death.

Mr Lusty said that Lyra had made him put a wedding date for "Donegal in 2022" in his diary and that she wanted him to wear his kilt to the ceremony.

"She gave me strict instructions to wear my kilt, which she always wanted to borrow, adorn it with some Harry Potter, and to find or re-find my own version of Sara," he said.

Mr Lusty told mourners that Lara's "starlight" filled the cathedral and he praised her as smart, kind and compassionate.

He said she was fearless and naive in her early days.

Speaking personally, he said that Lyra supported him through a dark time in his life, when he was scared, lonely and isolated.

He said she often gave half her dinner money to a homeless person she had come across, making her late when she was due to meet him.

Mr Lustry said Lyra was a "new age punk", the embodiment of the Troubles-era band Stiff Little Fingers' Alternative Ulster hit.

"She embodied the future of finding commonality, enjoying difference in others," he said.

He told the congregation that 40 years later her loss showed what it took to live in an Alternative Ulster.

They had been robbed of a talent destined to become a stateswoman, with only holes left behind.

Her friend said Miss McKee's lasting legacy should be peace.

"We have two choices, we can look into the holes and wait forever... or we can fill those holes today," Mr Lusty said.

"Today we grieve but tomorrow let us fill that hole by adopting Lyra's future and vision."

Belfast Telegraph

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