Funeral For Bin Lorry Crash Victim

5 January 2015, 12:27

A primary school teacher who died in the Glasgow bin lorry crash left a "legacy of fun and laughter'', mourners heard today.

Stephenie Tait, 29, from the city, died when she was hit by the vehicle on December 22.

She was one of six people killed and 10 more injured after the lorry lost control in the city's Queen Street and George Square.

Around 800 people gathered at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in the Riddrie area of Glasgow today for the funeral of Ms Tait, who was a teacher at St Philomena's Primary School in Glasgow.

She attended a carol service at the church on the eve of her death, a service which featured some of the children and members of the deanery choir who were at today's funeral.

Ms Tait is survived by her parents Alan and Margaret, sister Pamela and her partner Martin.

The private mass was led by Canon Peter McBride, the local parish priest and a friend of the family who knew Ms Tait well.

He said: "Two weeks ago none of us could have foreseen the tragic events which have brought us to this church today; a horrendous accident which caused death and carnage.

"Few in our city and our nation have been left untouched by the happenings on that fateful day. But for us who gather here, our grief and loss is acute, and our pain tangible. We come here as family to surround Alan, Margaret, Pamela and Martin with our presence, our prayers and our love.

"All of us are still in a state of shock at the loss of Stephenie and that sense of loss will continue for those closest to her for the rest of their lives.

"However, we also gather as a people of faith, inspired by Stephenie's own faith - a personal witness which energised her to dedicate her short life to teaching children and directly helping them to understand and feel God's personal love for each of them.''

Canon McBride said her life had a "tremendous impact'' on so many people and enriched the lives of others,

He said: "She brought order, organisation, good humour and a sense of calm into family life, her teaching career, her parish ministry, and into her friendships. Her attention to detail (especially personal grooming) is legendary, and she has left a legacy of fun and laughter combined with a strong determination to be all you can be.

"She was a modern woman with strong principles and values she felt were worth handing on to others.

"Although Stephenie's death has caught us unprepared and thrown her into the centre of homes and communities where she was not known, her life has also greatly enriched so many who have known and loved her.

"Her dedication and service as a teacher, and her ability to engage and inspire all of us with an intimacy we normally only associate with family or special friends, is a blessing we shall cherish for the rest of our lives.''

On the front of the order of service was a photo of Ms Tait, and the words "We celebrate the life of Stephenie Catherine Tait''.

The back featured two photos, one showing her with family and the other of Ms Tait and her partner.

Underneath the photo of the couple were the lines: "When it rains look for rainbows. When it's dark look for stars ... and think of me.''

The entry hymn was Lord Of The Dance.

In his homily, Canon McBride also said that Ms Tait was "comfortable and very much at home'' in the church.

He said: "In St Paul's letter to the Romans we hear that 'the life and death of each of us has its influence on others'. These words ring true for us today as we recall that Stephenie's death has been widely reported far beyond the confines of this parish community, this city and indeed this country.

"So many expressions of solidarity and prayers for Martin, for Alan and Margaret and for Pamela have been placed at St Philomena's school, where Stephenie taught, at the site of her tragic death, and also in so many conversations on social media of these past two weeks.''

After the service family and friends will privately attend Daldowie Crematorium and go on to Lambhill Cemetery.

Former pupils described Ms Tait as a ''fantastic'' and ''amazing'' teacher who would be ''sadly missed''.

At the time of the tragedy, headteacher Catherine Gallagher said: ''Stephenie made a wonderful contribution to the life of St Philomena's. She will be sadly missed by both pupils and staff.''

Funerals for the other five victims have already taken place.

A service for Erin McQuade, 18, and her grandparents, Jack Sweeney, 68, and his wife Lorraine, 69, was held at St Patrick's RC Church in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, on Saturday.

Services have also been held for Jacqueline Morton, 51, from Glasgow, and Gillian Ewing, 52, from Edinburgh.

Three patients remain in two Glasgow hospitals following the crash.

A 14-year-old girl and a 64-year-old woman are in a stable condition at the Royal Infirmary. A 57-year-old man - thought to be the lorry driver - is in a stable condition at the Western Infirmary.

Investigations into the crash are continuing.