Service held in Ballintoy for missing teacher

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Staff from Hazelwood Integrated College joined together for an emotional service near to the site where a colleague had gone missing.

Teacher, Catherine Johnston, disappeared from her home in east Belfast in the days leading up to Christmas.

Mrs Johnston’s car was discovered at Ballintoy Harbour on December 14, sparking a land and sea search for the 39-year-old science teacher.

On Saturday, February 4, her colleagues gathered for a service at Ballintoy Church of Ireland.

Commenting on the Hazelwood Integrated College Facebook page, a spokesperson for the school said: “Staff gathered together today (Saturday) in Ballintoy for a service for Mrs Johnston. Thank you to Olivia and Abbi who sang so beautifully.”

Mrs Johnston began teaching at the Whitewell Road school in 2005. The science teacher was the head of Year 12, with 150 children in her care. Under her guidance that year group achieved its best ever results last year.

Heartfelt comments were made on social media following the service.

One person said: “Thinking of Mrs Johnston’s family and the whole Hazelwood family at this sad time.”

Another person added: “Thinking of the family,” while another said: “Very sad.”

In the days following Catherine’s disappearance, police appealed to the public for information.

Their search operation was concentrated around Dunseverick Castle and Carrick-a-rede areas.

Anyone with information was asked to contact police, quoting reference number 889 of 13/12/16.