TRIBUTES have been paid to Coleraine woman Kelly McGarvey who died after falling from cliffs near Mussenden Temple last week.
In an exclusive interview at their Castlerock home yesteday, Kelly’s parents, John and Jenny and her fiancé, Lynn spoke of Kelly’s love of life.
Kelly’s parents contacted police last Wednesday evening to report they had been unable to contact her. Police then located her vehicle, a blue Peugeot, at a car park close to Mussenden Temple.
The find sparked a land and sea search on Thursday morning involving the Community Rescue Service, Coastguard and police helicopter. At around 10am, Kelly’s body was discovered close to rocks.
“Kelly called herself our wee princess,” said father John yesterday.
“She was our only daughter, the other two are our boys, Jonathan (27) and Patrick (25). Kelly really loved life, and her and Lynn were so happy together.
“She was just one of those people, she had a great personality, she was so bubbly.”
Kelly was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder three years ago: “ I was a bit protective over her because of this,” admitted John.
“I would always have been keeping my eye on her, but she coped well with her illness.
Kelly’s mother, Jenny went on: “Kelly’s wee dog, ‘Bubbles’ was with her when she fell.
“We had to get him put down, but we will be scattering his ashes next to her, that dog was her baby. It went everywhere with her.”
Jenny added: “One of Kelly’s friends said to me when this happened, ‘God just needed another wee angel’ and that really touched me. She was just that - my perfect angel.”
Doting fiancé, Lynn said that he and Kelly couldn’t have been happier.
The pair were together for just a year, but he said ‘we squeezed so much in during that time’.
“We had so many trips away, we had so many great times together.”
Lynn and Kelly met after he went into her salon to make an appointment: “I liked Kelly from the minute I saw her.
“People always say that you will know the love of your life when you meet them, and I knew when I met Kelly that I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life.
“We were so happy every single day.
“Looking back now, I was a lucky man that Kelly wanted me.”
Coleraine man Lynn, who is a security consultant in Iraq, said that colleagues and friends in Baghdad had gathered together on Sunday to remember Kelly: “She touched so many lives, even people that didn’t know her. My friends in Iraq, they knew how much she meant to me, and that’s comforting to know that they took time out to think of us.
“Despite the miles apart, we were in touch every day.
“We were always on facetime to each other.
“My colleagues used to laugh at me - they would say ‘there he is again on the Facetime to Kelly’.”
The pair got engaged in Paris back in November. Kelly had spotted a ring during a holiday to Tenerife, but she had no idea that Lynn had bought the ring.
“She was just so excited that day in that wee Paris cafe, “ recalled Lynn. “She kept saying to me that she couldn’t believe we were engaged.
“We were planning to try for baby, we had so many plans, Kelly and I were just so happy.”
Paying tribute to the PSNI, the rescue services and the community, Kelly’s father John added: “I just want to thank the PSNI and the Community Rescue Service - I will never forget them for what they did, I just can’t thank them enough.”
John went on to thank members of the local community who helped with the funeral arrangements and Father Keaney of St Mary’s Parish in Dunboe for Sunday’s service.
“Kelly always joked that she had no friends, we couldn’t believe the hundreds that were at her funeral, and those that called at the house. We are really thankful as a family for their support. We will never forget those who helped.”