Bride-to-be found dead after hen night is buried in wedding dress

A bride-to-be who died after disappearing on a hen do has been laid to rest surrounded by hundreds of tearful mourners.

Mum-of-three Ruth Maguire, who was due to marry her partner in August, was buried in the wedding dress she never got to wear.

Devastated James Griffin said 30-year-old Ms Maguire was his "soulmate" , and he and their children and families will miss her "more than she will ever know".

Ms Maguire's coffin, covered in flowers, was followed by Mr Griffin and their children – Tyler, Lydia and Oliver  – on their way into mass held in a church in north Belfast on Saturday morning.

A number of bouquets of flowers were carried by members of the RNLI, while a bouquet that spelt out "Friend" was driven in the hearse.

A guard of honour made up of children and adults from Ms Maguire's local sport's club, where she volunteered as a coach, stood outside the church.

Ms Maguire went missing on a hen night in Carlingford Co Louth last Saturday, sparking a major search, before her body was found in the nearby lough.

Friends have described her death as a tragic accident.

During today's service, mourners heard how Ms Maguire, who is originally from Belfast, worked in Daisy Hill hospital in Newry, and although the baby of the family, was "the boss" who looked out for her sisters and brothers.

Ms Maguire and Mr Griffin, who had been together for 12 years, were due to get married on August 8 in front of their families and friends, RSVP Live reports.

The priest told mourners Ms Maguire dedicated her life to others, through her job as a carer, coaching sport and Irish dancing.

He said: "Ruth was slow to take offence and quick to forgive, she realised that life is too short.

"Family was at the heart of Ruth's life, and Ruth and Jim were due to receive the sacrament of marriage this year, my prayer is that the grace you were due to receive that day, will come to you today Jim and sustain you in the future."

"May she meet you Jim in God's kingdom, dressed in dazzling white," the priest added.

Speaking to her three children, the priest said: "Don't you ever think that because you're wee your prayers aren't powerful. God listens to your prayers so carefully, you remember that.

"Today, remember your mummy loved you so very much, and your prayers will help you on life's journey, she was so proud of you, and you'll have so many people around you to help you.

"Remember this is always hope, always faith, always love."

A card made by her young son for Mother's Day next week has taken pride of place in their home with the many sympathy cards sent by the local community.  

Friends have described Ms Maguire as "the most loving, hardworking and caring mother to her three beautiful children" who, along with her partner, "worked tirelessly to give their children the best that they possibly could in life".

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