16-year-old girl dies in ATV crash

By Grant LaFleche, Standard Staff

Cheryl Beecroft-Penner has faith there was a reason behind the tragedy. One she cannot see or understand, perhaps, but a reason nevertheless.

"We have faith that she is exactly where God needs her to be," she says. "And am I just so thankful, so so thankful, that I had a daughter who was touching people's lives in a positive way."

Beecroft-Penner's daughter, 16-year-old Arlynne Holyer of St. Catharines, died Saturday as a result of an all-terrain vehicle accident near Longlac, Ont. some 320 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Beecroft-Penner said she was told the ATV rolled in a ditch while her daughter was on it.

The Eden High School student had spent most of her summer in the north doing what she felt called to do — sharing her faith. On the day she died, her mother said Arlynne was with members of an evangelical ministry handing out tracts to other teenagers to try and get them to come to a bible group.

"She just felt, deep down, that this was what she was meant to do, what God wanted her to do," she said. "We're heartbroken, certainly, and I would not wish this on anyone. But we are trying to see the positive."

Arlynne was a member of youth ministries at two St. Catharines churches, Southridge Community Church on Glenridge Ave. and Central Gospel downtown.

Her mother said the girl was raised in a religious home but like most teenagers, reached the age of minor rebellion. She tried alcohol and was occasionally disrespectful. But it was a period, fortunately, of finite duration.

Arlynne started taking her faith more seriously and soon developed a passion to help others.

"We told her the most important thing was to love Jesus and love others," said Arlynne's stepfather, Pete Penner. "Every family has that one member who just lights it all up. Arlynne was that person for our family."

She went on a youth missionary trip last year to Montreal, but came back disappointed.

"She was a little bummed and when I asked, she told me it was too short. There was so much left to do," Penner said.

So she left in June for a five-week mission with Child Evangelism Ontario in the north.

Her family held a big party for her before she left. Penner said he told her he would have to get up early the next morning to mow the lawn but when he awoke, Arlynne had already done it for him.

"That was her. Always thinking about others first," he said.

Arlynne's father, David Holyer, declined comment Tuesday evening.

A funeral service for Arlynne will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Central Gospel downtown. Visitation for her will be held Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 8 p.m. at Tallman Funeral Home in Beamsville. Along with her parents, Holyer is also survived by five siblings.

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