Mourners at the funeral of Banbridge woman Jayne Toal Reat have heard how her family and friends are trying to absorb the reality of her “tragic, sudden, unforeseen and violent death.”
The 43-year-old mental health nurse, who worked at Craigavon Area Hospital, was stabbed to death at her home in the Mornington Lane area of Lisburn on Christmas Day. A 19-year-old man has since been charged with her murder.
Among the mourners at St Patrick’s Church in Banbridge on Thursday afternoon were Jayne’s partner, Joseph Tweedie and her 21-year-old daughter Charlotte, who were also injured in the attack which claimed her life.
Conducting the Requiem Mass, Canon Liam Stevenson spoke about how so many people had been left “shocked, upset and deeply troubled” by the news of Jayne’s untimely death.
“Those who knew Jayne well would have expected to be celebrating the coming of Jesus Christ on this earth through the power of God’s Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They would have been worshipping the Prince of Peace bringing joy and happiness into all our lives. But the opposite was to be the reality for all of Jayne’s family circle and friends. Instead, Jayne’s family and friends were trying to absorb the reality of a tragic, sudden, unforeseen and violent death,” he said.
Many of the mourners gathered at the Dromore Street church wore items in powder blue or baby pink - Jayne’s favourite colours.
They heard how Jayne was born at Banbridge Hospital on March 11, 1974 and lived the early part of her life in Dromore Street where she helped out in her granny’s confectionery shop. She attended St Mary’s Primary and St Patrick’s College and was an avid art student.
Following her marriage to Simon and the birth of their daughter Charlotte, Jayne returned to her studies, studying mental health nursing at university and graduating with honours.
Canon Stevenson detailed how Jayne and Charlotte later returned to Banbridge and lived across the street from Jayne’s mother, Ann. He also spoke about how Jayne “nursed her mother day and night” after she fell ill and also worked hard to help many patients with mental health issues at the Bluestone unit in Craigavon.
Mourners heard how Jayne was a very proud mother who was very close to her daughter, and how she had found great friendship with Joe and moved to Lisburn a few years ago to be close to him.
Offering his sincere sympathy to Jayne’s family and friends, Canon Stevenson continued: “Our Gospel today reassures us of God’s kindness, love and comfort for all those grieving. Listen again to the opening sentences of our Gospel: ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still and trust in me.’
“God means exactly what he says so my dear people try to unburden your heavy hearts on to the Lord. If you can, at this hour of grief, turmoil and upset, trust in God; God then will comfort you through this mass, through me a priest of God and through one another gathered to pray for Jayne at this funeral mass.
“Charlotte and the family have received many messages of support and comfort. They are glad to see so many friends today at this Requiem Mass. Charlotte really appreciates the kindness of so many people at this extremely sad time and acknowledges their loyalty and sympathy.”
The funeral mass was followed by a private cremation.