Mourners at the funeral of 80-year-old M1 crash victim Maureen Buchanan have heard she died “with good Christian friends and on the way to meet with God”.
Paying tribute to Mrs Buchanan, a veteran of Bloomfield Presbyterian Church in east Belfast, Rev Frank Sellar in his sermon described her as “a much-loved mum, nana and friend”.
The pensioner died when the vehicle she was a passenger in hit a tree after being involved in a six-car collision on the westbound carriageway of the motorway between Moira and Lurgan last Friday.
The accident caused gridlock after police closed the road to deal with the scene, with drivers trapped on the motorway for hours unable to move.
In his sermon Rev Sellar paid tribute to Mrs Buchanan’s (nee O’Neill) musical attributes, adding that “Van Morrisson was fortunate to have the O’Neill family as neighbours on the street”.
“She was a great singer and her dad, who was very musical, encouraged her to breathe from her stomach and not from her chest, a technique she never forgot,” he told the congregation.
He said her voice “took her many places” including “the prison ship Carolyn where she sang to inmates” and as part of a “support act for Petula Clark who was very popular in those days”.
Rev Sellar said Mrs Buchanan had been “a faithful friend who nursed both her parents through sickness, nursed David’s (husband) mother and David until he died and many others through tough times.
“That was simply what she did with Christian grace and compassion.”
Rev Sellar said in recent nights at church they had been reflecting on the loss of Mrs Buchanan.
“Here at church we are going to miss Maureen a lot,” he said.
He said she had been in the church choir “for more than 40 years, and helping in the church office every Thursday”, and had helped with the church flowers for decades.
“But it is for her faithfulness, worship and prayer we are going to miss Maureen the most,” he added.
“She was a prayer warrior, never failing to pray on her own each day.”
The cleric said one of Mrs Buchanan’s grandchildren had described her as being “like sunshine” who “brightened everything up and warmth radiated from her”.
Mrs Buchanan was buried after the 1.30pm funeral service in Redburn Cemetery.
She will be sorely missed by her children, Lynn and Peter, and grandchildren, brother Albert and wider family circle.