THE late Erne Jones had the kind of personality that could light up any room she walked into, her devastated family have said.

Erne died unexpectedly last Wednesday, October 21. She was 20 years old, and was about to turn 21 in November.

She was the youngest daughter of Peter and Rose Jones, who “never held back in anything”, and was a loving sister to Oonagh (27), Niamh (26), Caitlin(24), Emer (24) and Beon (22).

The day before she died, she had eaten a carry-out with her grandmother, Susan Shannon, in Maguiresbridge, and had gone shopping in Enniskillen with her mother, hoping to find an outfit for her upcoming 21st birthday.

Her heartbroken mother said: “We had no idea that anything was amiss; we were never worried about her.”

Rose bravely spoke to The Impartial Reporter this week, and paid heartbroken tribute to her youngest daughter, who she said “had a heart of corn”.

She added: “Erne was doted on by all her sisters and her older brother, because she was the youngest in the family. She was their baby, as well as ours.”

Erne knew how to keep the ‘banter’ going in the house. Rose recounted how Erne was “the life and soul of the party” and had “an awful habit of hiding behind the doors and jumping out to scare people – she was a practical joker”.

Her family are devastated by Erne’s passing, as the young woman had the ability to lift everyone in the room’s spirits, even when she was among strangers, and now she cannot lift their spirits as they all mourn her loss.

“She was known by her sisters as ‘slippy fingers’, as she was always renowned for borrowing clothes. Now they wish she would come and take everything.

“She was a daddy’s girl, and her dad would come through the door and ask ‘Where’s my baby?’,” added Rose.

She was particularly close to her eldest sister, Oonagh. The two would have spoken on the phone for an hour every day, no matter where Oonagh was – even when she was in Australia for a year.

Erne’s mother spoke of her “beautiful” daughter, and a personality that far outshone Erne’s stature.

“She had this massive, big smile and a gorgeous, bubbly laugh that was infectious,” said Rose.

The family had believed that Erne had “found her niche working as a classroom assistant with a little boy in St Ninnidh’s Primary School, Derrylin”.

Erne was a social butterfly who made friends easily, her mother said. “She had a massive amount of friends, and I didn’t realise she had so many. She was always coming or going to a friend’s house – she had so many friends.”

Erne worked in the Killyhevlin Hotel and Pat’s Bar, and had groups of friends everywhere. “She just seemed to latch on to people,” said Rose.

She continued: “Erne found Covid-19 particularly hard, not being able to meet up with friends for a drink or a bite to eat, or even go to each other’s houses.”

Rose told this newspaper about one of the walls in her daughter’s room which is “covered” in photographs.

“All the photos are of her friends, her family, or her and her pets. She isn’t alone in any of them, and she has a great big smile in every single one.”

Rose reflected on some of Erne’s interests, and spoke of a girl who loved animals.

She said: “Erne was an animal lover; she had a wee dog, Ruby, that she got in P7, which she used to carry about the house.

“We’ve got hens, and she’s the only one in the house of the whole six children who could go and lift the hen into her hands.”

Rose said that Erne was always making tea, and spoke of her love of beans on toast, and how Erne “could be found eating them anywhere, at any stage of the day or night”.

She spoke of the closeness between Erne and her grandfather, Peter ‘Francie’ Jones.

“When he lived with us, she used to have him up dancing in the living room, and made him sing Rihanna [songs].”

Rose reflected on her daughter’s sudden passing. “I don’t know what it is, but youngsters don’t seem to be able to cope with negativity.

“I don’t know what it was that triggered her.

“There couldn’t have had been anything that bad that she couldn’t have spoken to us about it, or come to us, or even to a friend.

“Never take for granted someone who has a big smile on their face, because they are not always smiling on the inside.

“There has to be something done to help young people – there are young people who need help.”

There has been widespread sadness across the county for all of those who loved Erne, and all those who knew her.

Rose and Peter wished to thank all those who have helped them over the past week.

They expressed a particular thanks to the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, adding: “We will never be able to thank them enough.”

She also expressed their thanks to all the family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and schools which expressed condolences to her family, and those who dropped food in to the family.

Prayers were said around the world for Erne and her family from those who could not be in Enniskillen for her funeral and burial.

Erne Jones was buried in Cross Cemetery, following a Requiem Mass in St. Michael’s Church, Enniskillen conducted by Monsignor O’Reilly and Father Donnelly.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Enda Love Funeral Directors.

IF YOU are in crisis or distress and need to talk to someone, you can call free, 24/7, Lifeline at 0808 808 8000; The Samaritans at 116 123; or alternatively, e-mail

Enniskillen-based Aisling Centre offers a free, confidential and professional counselling and psychotherapy service. See Page 14.