The Minister of Christ Church and St Andrews in Derriaghy Rev Canon John Budd described a 49-year-old woman from the Glenavy Road who died last week as a ‘free spirit.’
Jakki Hanna (nee Totten) suffered 80 per cent burns to her body following an incident at her home. She died at the Royal Victoria Hospital last Thursday.
Rev Budd paid tribute to Jakki, a former journalist with the Ulster Star.
“Green-eyed and red-haired Jakki was a free spirit from an early age,” said Rev Budd. “She was generous and self giving, sometimes impulsively so and she had the gift of friendship. Fundamental to her outlook were her Christian faith and her love for her three children.”
Jakki married second husband Simon in 2007 and was the only child to the late George and Myrtle Totten.
She was brought up in Derriaghy, a member of Christ Church and attended Wallace High. She was involved with the Lisburn Cathedral, the Iron Hall in Belfast and the Independent Methodist Church.
She met first husband Gordon Black when they worked together for the Crossfire Trust in South Armagh. They then got involved in youth work in Derriaghy. They married in 1986 and ran a home in Belfast for alcoholics. She later worked for the Belfast Hospice and Lisburn YMCA. Jakki and Gordon had one son Jordan. She later went on to have two more children.
She studied psychology, social studies, counselling and journalism.
“She had a particular gift for words and she worked at the Ulster Star and also with Lifetime, a Christian magazine for women,” said Rev Budd.
Police say that investigations into her death are still ongoing.
Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he was saddened to hear of her death.
“I first got to know Jakki when she worked as a journalist with the Ulster Star and I was in my early days as a Lagan Valley MP,” he said. “I always found her a likeable and an approachable person. She was always very upbeat.
My thoughts and prayers are with her and her family. The circumstances into Jakki’s death are obviously very tragic and I hope that the police can establish what happened.”
Assembly member Jonathan Craig commended the emergency services who witnessed what he described as a ‘very difficult’ scene.
“This has been an appalling time for the family that something like this has happened,” he said. “I hope the police investigation will determine what happened and bring closure to the family.”