'We'll still mark her 50th birthday' - friend pays tribute to woman killed in lorry crash
A woman killed in a city centre crash as she walked to work was a fun-loving person who never took life too seriously, her best friend has said.
Lorraine Burrows was hit by a lorry in Belfast on November 21.
Yesterday, Denise Stewart, who had known Lorraine for 28 years after they both started to work together in the same hair salon in Belfast, paid an emotional tribute.
There was just a week's age difference between the two friends, who both turned 48 last June, and Denise revealed they were already making plans to celebrate their 50th birthdays abroad.
Speaking about her friend, who she described as a "hard-working professional", Denise said: "Lorraine would have been so humbled by the many tributes that have been paid to her, she didn't realise that people thought so highly of her.
"She was a genuine person. She was never false. What you saw is what you got. She was a very loyal friend and so kind and generous.
"She was also great fun and we always had a laugh when we were out together. She never took life too seriously and she was just like a part of the family to me."
Lorraine died in hospital hours after being struck by a lorry while in the Great Victoria Street and Wellwood Street area.
Her workplace, Keenan Healthcare, issued a statement saying they were numb with shock.
Tributes have also poured in throughout the past week from heartbroken family, friends and colleagues.
Lorraine's funeral was held in Belfast's Roselawn Crematorium last Saturday morning, with friends gathering later to celebrate her life in the Ormeau Road's Pavilion Bar.
Speaking ahead of the service, her husband Jonny expressed his gratitude for the hundreds who passed on their condolences.
And yesterday Denise revealed how Lorraine had just started a new chapter in her life with a new job, after working for most of her career as a hairdresser.
She opened her own salon LX Hair on the Woodstock Road in 1998 before a change of career six years ago and retraining in Human Resources.
She had just started her new job in Keenan Healthcare as a recruitment consultant six months ago and was delighted that she had found the new career she had been searching for.
Denise, who also changed careers and now works as a classroom assistant in Rosetta Primary School, added: "She was really happy in her new job. She had worked at a few jobs since closing the salon and felt that she had finally found the new career she wanted.
"Not long ago she was given her first review by the company and they said she was one of their best workers, and she was over the moon.
"She was very hard-working and always very professional. She worked six days a week."
Denise described her friend as being devoted to her husband Jonny, whom she had known from they were both 17.
Jonny had been on a waiting list for a hip replacement and got word that he was to have his surgery soon.
The last time she spoke to her friend was the Friday before she died when she rang to tell her about the surgery.
Denise added: "She was a wee bit stressed because Jonny had just got word that he was going in for his hip replacement.
"I said to her, 'at least he knows what he is getting for Christmas'.
"We were due to go out for a Christmas party two nights after the surgery and she was worried she might not make it.
"She went out that day and bought Jonny a Christmas card and sent me a picture of what she had written in it - 'You've been a very good boy this year so Santa is bringing you a new hip' but he is still keeping an eye on you.
"That was typical of her, she always enjoyed a bit of fun.
"She absolutely adored Jonny. They have been together since they were 17 and they were so happy. They had been planning a wee trip away after Christmas.
"My heart goes out to him. Lorraine and I were due to turn 50 at the same time and had already been planning how we would celebrate.
"Jonny said to me at the funeral we would have to do something to mark her 50th."
Denise was driving when she heard the tragic news on the radio that a woman had died after being knocked down in a rush hour accident while on her way to work. Like everyone else she was horrified by the news but it never crossed her mind that it was her best friend.
She added: "I just couldn't believe it and even now I still find it hard to take in.
"Lorraine was so sensible and I feel I really need to find out what happened to get closure."
Police have renewed their appeal for witnesses. PSNI Inspector David Gibson urged anyone with information to contact the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 198 21/11/17.