VET Catherine Gowing was remembered at her funeral in Ireland yesterday as a gift from God.
More than 600 people attended mass for the 37-year-old from County Offaly who lived in New Brighton, Mold, before her disappearance last October.
Colleagues from Evans Veterinary Surgery in Mold and officers from North Wales Police attended the service at St Flannan’s Church in Kinnitty, Co Offaly, along with her devastated parents John and Maureen and family from across Ireland, the UK and the United States.
Miss Gowing’s sister Emma told the packed church those who knew her sister had cherished memories that would light up a smile.
“But for those of you who didn't know her, to me she was the closest person to perfection that I had the privilege to know and love as my sister, my friend,” she said.
"She was a wonderful daughter to mum and dad. She was their gift from God.”
She told the congregation Miss Gowing loved to travel and explore the world, but also loved home, down to every blade of grass, hedge and fresh water spring.
In an emotional eulogy, Emma said their hearts were broken. She said the vet sought out the good in everyone she met and lived her life with love, compassion, fun, adventure and joy.
“She was beautiful in beauty’s truest form, a soul filled with goodness,” she added.
Mourners heard Catherine had attended a Christmas Eve service at the church with her family last year. She had told Father Michael O’Meara how happy she was in North Wales but she loved to be home.
Emma recalled text messages between her and her sister last New Year. “She was beautiful in body and spirit, a source full of goodness,” she said.
“This time last year on New Year’s Eve 2012 she was on call in Mold, North Wales.
“I sent her a message wishing her a happy New Year.
“She replied the same to us. My darling sister said ‘My New Year has started, just delivered two fabulous Suffolk lambs, can’t think of a better way to start 2012’.”
Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O’Reilly, former bishop Willie Walsh and several priests attended the service.
Parish priest Michael O’Meara said a candle of hope had been lit in the church within days of Miss Gowing’s disapperance, waiting for her to return.
“I know no words of mine can really be of any comfort on this day for you,” he told her family and friends.
Back in Mold, colleagues at the veterinary surgery said prayers at noon as the funeral began in Ireland. Secretary Barbara Elder and veterinary nurse Kate Kinread are thought to have travelled to the Irish service.
Miss Gowing was last seen alive on Friday, October 12, leaving Asda in Queensferry. Her remains were later found in a shallow pool in a field in Sealand and on the banks of the River Dee in Higher Ferry, Chester. Further searches are continuing.
- Clive Sharp, 46, from Bethesda, Gwynedd, has been charged with murdering Catherine Gowing and is expected to enter a plea at Caernarfon Crown Court on Monday.