A Lisburn woman who died in a road traffic accident has been described as a “vivacious, fun loving and extremely caring member of staff” at the school where she taught.
Heather Neill had been head of Business Studies in Dromore High School for over 20 years and retired in 2017.
It is understood she died following a collision between car and a bus on the Moneynick Road near Randalstown, Co Antrim at 2.45pm on Sunday.
Former Dromore High School principal John Wilkinson paid a warm tribute to her as a former colleague who taught at the school for over two decades.
“Heather started her school career in the school and soon impacted the lives of many young people both in her classes and as leader of Scripture Union,” he told the News Letter.
“As a vivacious, fun loving and extremely caring member of staff she was loved by pupils and staff alike. Many of us will remember her quirky hair styles, face painting and nail art.
“But most of all her sincere Christian faith and love for all with whom she came in contact epitomised the way in which she lived out her life.
“Of course Heather’s immediate family – her husband David, daughter Holly and son Scott – will be greatly impacted by this tragic accident and we are mindful of them at this time. We wish God’s blessing upon them all at this time.”
Lisburn DUP alderman Paul Porter said his family was close to Mrs Neill’s and was devastated.
“Heather was a wonderful lady who was respected by everyone,” he said. “If you met her your life was truly touched. My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.”
Another former colleague at Dromore High School, Renne Marshall, paid tribute on Facebook.
“I’m lost for words,” she said. “Heather Neill, you were a wonderful teacher, colleague and friend.
“All the pupils loved you, especially my Chris with your wacky hair colour [and] your 3/4 inch heels.”
She added: “You always had a smile on your face every day – I loved working with you. You will be so missed by all.”
Mrs Neill was given a high rating of 4.82 out of 5 by pupils on RateMyTeachers.com.
One pupil said of her: “She is class – always helped you if you were stuck and knew what way to explain it. I wish I could go back to her class again – such a good teacher”.
PSNI Inspector Colin Ash appealed for witnesses to contact police on tel 101 citing log 802/11/02/18.