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‘Generous and kind-hearted to the end’ – Kyra (21) gives the gift of life to others after tragic death

Kyra McKinley
Kyra McKinley

A young woman who died after a car crash has been described as a “beautiful girl”.

Kyra McKinley (21), from Omagh, Co Tyrone, died in hospital on Monday from injuries sustained in a collision over the weekend.

It is the second tragedy to hit the family in 18 months.

Kyra passed away following the two-vehicle crash on Deverney Road in Omagh shortly before 10am on Saturday.

She had been driving from her parents’ home to her boyfriend’s, a journey of only five minutes, when the tragedy happened.

Seriously injured, she was flown by Air Ambulance from the scene to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she was placed on life support following emergency surgery.

She died in intensive care on Monday surrounded by her family.

Her grandfather Alex McKinley (75), from Gillygooley outside Omagh, died in March 2017 after being attacked by a bull on the family farm.

Now, almost 18 months on, her heartbroken parents Raymond and Valerie, devastated older sister Alex and younger brother Glenn, along with boyfriend Matthew, are preparing for her funeral.

A past pupil of Omagh Academy, she was remembered yesterday as a talented pupil who had participated in many school plays, including a starring role in the musical Oklahoma back in 2013.

In a statement, the school said: “Kyra spent seven years at Omagh Academy and completed her A-levels in 2015. Throughout that time we enjoyed her lively personality and benefited greatly from her many talents.

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“Kyra’s musical abilities are well documented – as a singer, cellist and actress she performed on stage many times. Art, photography and public speaking were also her passions.

“Kyra was, without doubt, a gifted student who possessed a gracious and friendly manner. She had a positive impact on all who knew her.”

A skilled photographer, she also modelled for a number of local hairdressers and bridal fairs in Omagh.

As a member of Omagh Community Youth Choir she performed at a recent event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing.

She was an employee of Dickson & Co Insurance Brokers in the town and had just finished her one-year probation period.

In a tribute, the company said: “Management and staff, with sadness and a heavy heart, offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of our dear staff member Kyra McKinley.

“Kyra joined our Commercial team in August 2017 and settled quickly into her role, showing great promise with her professional and enthusiastic approach to her work.

“Kyra will be sadly missed from our office in Omagh. Her warm nature and bubbly personality had a personal impact on all her work colleagues.

“In addition to her work, Kyra had many talents enjoyed by many of us including her home-baked goods, crocheting skills and gardening advice.”

Her former colleagues at the Silverbirch Hotel in Omagh, where she worked as a waitress, also expressed their deep sadness at the loss of their friend.

The hotel posted a video tribute on Facebook of Kyra performing Amazing Grace.

A spokesman described her as “a beautiful girl”.

“She was the sweetest little lady, who lit up every room with that gorgeous smile,” he said.

Kyra’s funeral service is expected to take place later this week at Gillygooley Presbyterian Church.

Rev Jane Nelson, who will be taking part in the service, described Kyra as a beautiful young girl, inside and out, and generous-hearted, who had such joy within her.

“Kyra was a very talented singer who performed in various churches in the Omagh area and participated with many youth choirs,” she recalled.

“Many people said that she had a voice like an angel and she certainly had a wonderful gift, which she used to bring joy to others.

“She was a really busy person who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind about causes close to her heart, such as her passion for animals and the environment.

“Kyra was surrounded by her family almost as soon as this tragic accident occurred.

“Her boyfriend and his parents as well as her mum and dad all rushed to the scene immediately.

“They were by her hospital bed constantly and hoping that with time she would recover. Sadly, that was not to be.

“Her family and friends are naturally devastated to have lost her in such tragic circumstances.

“Like all young people, Kyra had her ups and downs, which she wasn’t afraid to talk about. For her friends, who are all devastated, she would want them to take their memories of her into their futures and to live life to its very best.”

Rev Nelson said that throughout her short life Kyra was generous to the core, particularly as it was drawing to a close.

“Kyra had been due to visit her local hairdresser on Saturday morning. She had long hair down to her waist and had decided to have it cut in aid of the Prince’s Trust to be made into a wig,” she said.

“That still took place, but in the Royal as her hairdresser travelled up from Omagh to do this for her. Kyra also carried an organ donor card and her family agreed to carry out her wishes.

“Hopefully this generosity of spirit means she will be able to improve the lives of others who are currently suffering.

“Her generous nature will live on and we hope that other people will have many happy years of life as a result.”

The McKinley family have requested that people make a donation to the rescue team from Air Ambulance Northern Ireland who helped them cherish their final moments with Kyra.

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision to contact local officers in Omagh or the Collision Investigation Unit on 101.

Belfast Telegraph

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