The family of a teenager who died in a road crash in Co Armagh have expressed their grief at the loss of a “beautiful” and “special” girl who had a bright future ahead of her.
Rachael Lowry, 17, died in a single vehicle collision on the Coolmillish Road, Markethill, on Thursday, police said.
She had been a pupil at Markethill High School.
In a statement, the family said: “The members of the Lowry family wish to express their heartfelt grief at the tragic and sudden loss of Rachael, who was especially special to the entire family circle.”
The family said Rachael had grown into a “beautiful young 17-year-old girl with great gifts in music and creativity”.
“The family were so proud of Rachael when in 2017 she won the Junior World Drum Major Championship, and again in 2019 when she was runner-up in the Juvenile World Drum Major competition,” they said.
“With excellent GCSE results this year and beginning a Health and Social Care course at the SRC in Armagh, Rachael had a bright future ahead of her however the family’s joy in Rachael’s achievements were turned into tears of overwhelming grief yesterday afternoon.
“The family would like to express their sincerest thanks to PSNI, Air Ambulance and neighbours at the scene who all cared for Rachael.”
Colin Berry, the principal of Markethill High School, which the teenager attended until June, released a statement on behalf of the school.
He said she was a “very popular” and “extremely talented” teenager and that the entire school was “deeply saddened” by her death.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lowry family at this extremely sad time,” a statement read.
“Rachael was a very popular and well-liked member of the school community who demonstrated a genuine talent towards the creative aspects of school life.
“She left our school in June 2020 with an excellent set of GCSE results, ready to embrace the next step of her educational pathway.
“Rachael particularly loved her vocational studies at SRC, especially the hair and beauty modules; and outside of school, she was extremely talented and successful within the world of Pipe Bands, namely as a Drum Major.
“I have no doubt in my mind that Rachael had a great future ahead of her and she will be remembered with great fondness by the entire school community.
“Our heartfelt sympathies to Rachael’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
Investigating officers are appealing for any witnesses or anyone who may have recorded dashcam footage in the area at the time to contact them by calling 101.