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Friday 9 December 2016

'Amazing' mum Claire buried after first fatal road crash of new year

The remains of Claire Hewitt are brought to St Ciaran's Church, Hartstown, for her funeral mass
The remains of Claire Hewitt are brought to St Ciaran's Church, Hartstown, for her funeral mass

Crowds of mourners turned out yesterday to pay their respects to the "amazing" woman who was the first person to be killed on the roads this year.

Claire Hewitt (47), of Hazelwood Avenue, Clonsilla, died in the early hours of last Sunday when she was hit by a car only metres from her home.

The mother-of-two was walking with a friend, who remains in hospital, across Hartstown Road in west Dublin after a night out when tragedy struck.

Her husband, David, daughter Jolie, son John Paul and extended family were chief mourners at yesterday's funeral mass. The congregation at the Church of St Ciaran in Hartstown was told of Ms Hewitt's love for life in a touching tribute paid by her daughter.

"I don't need to remind people how much of a lovely, caring woman my mother was," Jolie said. "She was an amazing woman and I can see here how much she was loved in the community and how much everyone cared for her. Obviously, she loved to talk to everybody - you'd just walk to the shop and she'd start talking to you."

Ms Hewitt worked as a carer at St Joseph's Centre for people with intellectual disabilities in Clonsilla, and her daughter thanked the hospital for making the job so enjoyable for her.

"She loved all the women she looked after and she loved all the staff. She had a lot of time for you all," she said.

Jolie joked that her mother worked as a travel agent on her days off because she would constantly look up holidays while keeping track of her when she was working on a cruise ship.

"She knew where I was before I knew where I was," said Jolie. "She was on that ship tracker, seeing where the ship was. It was like she was always with me.

Singing

"I know my mam's not with us now, but she's always in our hearts and she's with us in spirit, and I know that."

Gifts brought to the altar included a microphone because of her love of singing, betting slips to represent her fondness for horses, an angel and a paintbrush.

"Anyone who knew my mam well knew she loved a tin of paint and a paintbrush and redecorating the house, even if it was against my dad's will," said Jolie.

A set of hands was also among the gifts to show Ms Hewitt's dedication to her job, in which chief celebrant Fr Joe Coyne said she went "beyond the call of duty". He spoke of the joy when she had brought Christmas presents to the hospital only a few weeks ago.

"Claire went the extra mile," he said.

He also spoke of the "circle of love" that had gathered around the family in the days after her death. Among those in the congregation were workmates, staff and students from Hartstown Community School, where John Paul is a pupil, and Deputy Mayor of Fingal Jack Chambers.

Colleagues placed a bible and crucifix on the coffin and donation boxes for St Joseph's Hospital were placed at the end of the church. A prayer was said for the friend who survived the tragedy. Ms Hewitt was afterwards laid to rest in Dardistown Cemetery.

The 24-year-old man who was driving the car and has an address in Hartstown is to appear at Blanchardstown District Court at the end of the month.

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