'A great loss' – Tributes paid to 'extraordinary' Irish nun, 74, killed in Birmingham road tragedy
News

'A great loss' – Tributes paid to 'extraordinary' Irish nun, 74, killed in Birmingham road tragedy

TRIBUTES have been paid to an Irish nun who died after being struck by a car in Birmingham on Friday.

Sr Ita Keane, 74, was crossing Park Road, Aston in the West Midlands city when she was hit by a black BMW at around 4pm on April 26.

The Cork native was rushed to hospital but tragically passed away a few hours later.

Sr Ita was a Sister of Mercy at St Mary's Convent in Lozells, near the scene of the accident.

She had previously worked as head teacher of a primary school in London before moving to Birmingham.

Advertisement

Local councillor Khalid Mahmood remembered Sr Ita as a "hard-working community member" who worked tirelessly to help local children and helped out at St Francis Catholic Primary School.

He told Birmingham Live: "She looked after local children and local people and also helped with the school next door.

"Huge amount of work in the community, she worked tirelessly and beyond her duty. She ran it since 2013 when sister Helen left.

"She will be hugely missed by the community. We have suffered a great loss."

Another local councillor, Waseem Zaffar, said: "This news has sent shockwaves across Lozells - Sister Ita was an amazing community activist from our neighbourhood & even at the time of her tragic death, she was in the process of helping a vulnerable local family. I visited St Mary’s Convent this morning to pay my respects."

Advertisement

Local charity worker Altaf Kazi paid tribute to Sr Ita as a "true legend" and "advocate of the poor", adding: "She was an extraordinary woman that helped so many people.

"Even when she passed she was in the service of others. She had just returned from the shops after purchasing items for a local family that had just been housed.

"Often there are people in our neighbourhoods that provided much needed services to families and they go unnoticed.

"I met her a few weeks back when we spoke about our local priorities. She was always a willing host and ensured we were all fed! Such a great loss to Birmingham".

Advertisement

Reverend David Butterworth of the Methodist Church in Birmingham tweeted: "A beautiful & very wise Sister who had time & heart for everyone. The Birmingham Methodist District & Birmingham Circuit counted her a close friend, family... Our condolences with all who knew her & especially her family within the Convent."

St Mary's Kinnoull Monastery & Retreat also paid tribute to Sr Keane, writing on Facebook: "Please pray for the repose of Sr. Ita Keane, a Sister of Mercy who died tragically in a car accident. Ita was a participant on the Autumn Sabbatical Course 2017.

"Our condolences and prayers to her family and Sisters. May she rest in peace."

Citizens UK Birmingham, an independent civil society alliance, tweeted: "Very sad news. The amazing Sr Ita Keane of St Mary's Convent passed away yesterday.

"She was our rock & a dedicated Organiser building the power of poor families in the city. Our prayers & thoughts are with the Sisters of Mercy family & her loved ones."

Advertisement

Another local community organisation, Aspire & Succeed – which offers after school tuition, youth work and free citizens' advice – added:  "Sr Ita was a true hero for us in Lozells, helped shape so many projects currently being delivered, her legacy will live on. Our prayers and love go out to her loved ones and the Sisters of Mercy."

West Midlands Police said the driver of the car involved stopped at the scene and is helping officers with their investigation.

The force also confirmed that Sr Ita's family were being supported by specialist officers.

She is survived by six siblings – Seán, Breda, Patrick and Esther, all of whom live in Cork, Mary, who lives in Limerick, and Mairéad, who lives in Cape Cod and tragically lost her husband George on the same day after illness – as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and her family of fellow nuns at the Sisters of Mercy.