The pastor to a young mother-of-four who died on Tuesday, six days after her car collided with a lorry, said the incredible turnout for her funeral reflected the love and esteem in which she and her family were held.
Pastor Ian Stevenson of Markethill Elim Pentecostal Church, Co Armagh, said the village literally came to a standstill as the community united in grief to say goodbye to Tanya Nesbitt on Saturday.
Pastor Stevenson said the turnout – over 700 people, in a village with an estimated population of just over 1,600 – was “remarkable” but not surprising given the extent of the young woman’s popularity.
“That there has been such a huge turnout for her funeral is testament to how loved and esteemed she was in this area,” said Pastor Stevenson.
“I would always describe Markethill as a ‘country town’ but there were upwards of 700 mourners at the service, which is remarkable,” he added.
The pastor said that there remained a palpable sense of shock that a young mother in the prime of her life could be taken so abruptly from her family and friends .
“It’s been devastating for the family and the wider community,” he said.
“Any death is a loss but with a young mother, leaving her four children, it’s very, very difficult,” he said.
Local Ulster Unionist Party councillor Jim Speers attended the funeral, and is a friend of the wider Nesbitt family.
Speaking to the News Letter, he said his sympathies were with Ms Nesbitt’s close circle at this time.
“The Nesbitt family are a very well known and well respected family in the wider Markethill area and this is clearly a devastating time for them,” said Councillor Speers.
“I can only extend again my condolences to her partner and family.
“It’s been a terribe loss, especially when you leave four young children behind.
“It is devastating,” he added.
Ms Nesbitt died in hospital on Tuesday, six days after her Vauxhall Vectra collided with a lorry at the junction of the Gosford and Killycarn roads just outside Markethill on October 26.
She is survived by her partner Paul, her children Josh, Zac, Cody and Paige, her parents Granville and Noeleen, her brother Adam and his partner Linda.
She was laid to rest at Ballynahone Cemetery in Armagh following the service at Markethill Elim Pentecostal Church.
Ms Nesbitt’s family requested that mourners, rather than send flowers, make donations to the Royal Victoria Hospital Intensive Care Unit.
It had cared for her in her final days following the crash.