Guard of honour as ambulance service says sad farewell to ‘one in a million’

Diane McAllister Todd
Diane McAllister Todd

Members of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service formed a guard of honour at the funeral of their colleague Diane McAllister Todd (45), who died following a courageous battle against illness.

The funeral service at Ballycarry Presbyterian Church was attended by hundreds of mourners, and was conducted as a celebration of the life of the local woman.

Following the service the cortege was led from Hillhead through Ballycarry by a wreath-bedecked ambulance and was one of the largest funerals seen in the local area for many years, testifying to the high regard in which Mrs. Todd was held.

Among those present were pupils from the schools attended by her son and daughter.

The daughter of Samuel James and the late Frances McAllister, she grew up in the rural community of Bellahill outside Ballycarry and had served for over 20 years in the ambulance service as a paramedic at Moyle Hospital in Larne and then Antrim Area Hospital.

Diane, a well-known member of the local community, was a member of the Girl Guides as a young girl and played an active role in Ballycarry Presbyterian Church, including in numerous youth activities there as she became older.

Growing up in a rural community near Carrickfergus, her interests included horses and she retained a great love of the outdoor life, particularly enjoying walking. She also had a keen interest in the work of local artists and will be remembered by all who knew her as someone who always had a smile, even when she faced illness, and someone who lived life to the full.

Tributes on social media highlighted the love and respect in which she was held by many, including comments such as “Whitehead will miss you and your friendliness and kindness will forever live with us” and “she was the bravest woman I have ever met and everyone who met her loved her”.

The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Gabrielle Farquhar and interment took place in the Ballycarry New Cemetery.

Mrs. Todd is survived by her husband Richard, daughter Hannah and son Allister.