CRASH SITE TRIBUTE TO DANIELLE

FAMILY and friends of Kinallen teenager Danielle Houston (pictured left) have marked the first anniversary of her death in a road accident with a crash-site tribute and a fresh call for young motorists to drive carefully.

Danielle, of Skeagh Road, lost her life on July 1 last year when her Renault Clio left the road close to the Katesbridge Road/Enagh Road junction, just 11 days after she celebrated her 19th birthday.

The former Dromore High School pupil was employed at the Dromara hairdressing salon of Gillian Parks and harboured ambitions to become a make-up artist.

On Thursday, a year to the day after tragedy struck, Danielle's mother, other relatives and close friends, gathered at the scene of the accident to pay their respects, said one friend, to "a much loved and remembered young woman".

There they released balloons, each one carrying its own tribute or message for Danielle.

"It is something she would have cherished," said Roy Carmichael, whose sister Claire was Danielle's best friend.

Meanwhile, Danielle's mum Michelle said it was the help of her family, her own and Danielle's friends, that had helped her cope over the past 12 months.

"But I will always feel the emptiness in my life," she said, "especially with a empty home."

Roy said the year since Danielle's death had been very hard for all her family and friends.

"We miss Danielle every day," he said, "and nothing can take away the memories of her that we hold so dear.

"A year has gone by but it has gone too quickly; Danielle is still missed and will continue to be so by a vast and varied amount of people."

Danielle's family have spent the last year - which also saw the suicide of the teenager's boyfriend Andrew McQuiston (23) less than a month after her accident - campaigning to raise money, and awareness, on a range of issues.

Said Roy, "We want to re-iterate how important it is for drivers, especially young people, to please drive safely and wear your seatbelts and have you car seats fixed upright at all times; small things can make all the difference."

There was enouragement too for the public to donate to the SOS Bus, which, said Roy, focused on Suicide Awareness in County Down.

"We have experienced this first-hand," he said, "with the death of Danielle's boyfriend, Andrew McQuiston, not long after Danielle passed, and he is sadly missed.

"It is a very important cause, as many young people are taking their own lives and we feel more needs to be done to prevent these tragedies, so please donate to this great cause."

Danielle's friends and family are currently collecting donations and raising funds towards buying a guide dog, in her memory, to help someone in need; posters advertising upcoming fundraising events will be on display in the Dromore and Dromara areas.

Roy added, "Danielle is always smiling in our hearts and memories of her will never fade as days, months and the years pass. All our love Danielle xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx."