A “beautiful person” who would “always think of others before herself”, is how the family of the late Jean Holmes described the beloved police officer and mother-of-two who passed away unexpectedly last week.

Jean, 52, late of Killyhevlin Demesne, Enniskillen, died peacefully surrounded by her loving family at the South West Acute Hospital on May 24, following a cardiac arrest two days earlier.

Jean’s grief-stricken teenage daughter, Rhea, paid tribute to her mother, calling her the “most amazing mum”.

“She was always there for us if we ever had any problems and was so supportive,” she said on behalf of herself and her younger brother, Reece.

“She was the most amazing mum. She was so proud of both of us.”

“She was just a really beautiful person,” added Jean’s husband, Allan, who went on to describe her as “faultless” and the “perfect” wife and mother to their two children.

“She was the kindest person, she would always think of others before herself.”

This kindness was evident throughout Jean’s career as a police officer, where she worked in the domestic abuse department helping families throughout Fermanagh and beyond.

“She was so dedicated to her job,” said Allan, adding: “She helped so many people through her career within that department.”

Jean began her policing career in Portadown and then moved to Clogher before working in Enniskillen.

“She spent about 24 years in Enniskillen; most of her service was there,” noted Allan.

Paying tribute to his late colleague, PSNI District Commander, Superintendent Alywin Barton, said: “The police family is shocked and saddened by the death of our colleague and friend, Jean.

“She played a very significant role in supporting victims of domestic abuse in the Fermanagh and Omagh areas for many years.

‘Kind and caring nature’

“Her kind and caring nature will be greatly missed by all of us and by the many victims of domestic violence Jean committed herself to helping.

“Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt sympathies are with her family and friends at this sad time.”

Family was very important to Jean. Sharing particularly fond memories of family time with her mother, Rhea said: “Our family walks with our dog in Castle Coole, we would have done that at the weekends, or just playing board games around a table, it was a laugh with us all.

“Wee small things like that, just looking back means so much,” she said, adding: “And holidays.

“We would try different destinations each year.”

A sociable person with a “laugh that would fill a room”, Jean enjoyed meeting up with her neighbours for a coffee.

“Her favourite place to go for coffee with her neighbours was to meet them down at the Ardhowen, overlooking the lake,” explained Allan.

Speaking about his wife’s unexpected passing after experiencing a cardiac arrest on the evening of Saturday, May 22, Jean’s grieving husband said: “It was so sudden.

“There were no signs or symptoms leading up to what happened on Saturday evening.”

Grateful for the care her mum received, Rhea said: “Thank you to the paramedics, staff in the A&E department and critical care unit for their amazing work and outstanding care they gave to mum.”

A very dear daughter of Martha and the late Fred Patterson, a much-loved wife of Allan, a very special mother of Rhea and Reece, and a dear sister of Sandra, Debra, Caroline and Freda, Jean is very sadly missed by all the family circle.

Arranged by Marcus Madill, Funeral Director, Enniskillen, Jean’s funeral took place at St. Macartin’s Church, Enniskillen on Thursday, May 27, followed by a private family interment.

Led by two police motorbikes, Jean’s funeral cortege made its way from the family home through Enniskillen town, passing by the PSNI station where she had worked prior to her untimely death.

Silence fell

As the cortege travelled down Townhall Street towards the cathedral, silence fell over the town centre as mourners who were lining the streets bowed their heads in respect.

The clouds broke just as the cortege passed by the Diamond, the drops of rain echoing the tears of those grieving the highly-respected police officer.

Although numbers were restricted for the funeral service due to Covid-19 regulations, the family were very grateful to those who showed their support by standing out on the day of the funeral.

“It meant so much,” said Rhea.

“It just made you realise how popular and how loved she was. What she meant to other people that we weren’t aware of, like how many different lives she affected throughout her life.

“The support was just incredible,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion.