A woman who was respected right across the community

Susan Burns (nee Ervine), who passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 20, was well known right across Banbridge.

Susan had just turned 78 years of age. She was the daughter of the late Samuel and Susan Ervine and the youngest in a family of seven.

She was the loving wife of Paul, the devoted mother of Duncan, Jill and Ian, mother-in-law to Nigel, Beverley and the late Pauline and an extremely generous and supportive grandmother to Andrew (his wife Katherine), Aaron, Natasha and Hannah.

Susan has three surviving siblings - her sisters Gladys (Coventry), Georgie (Lurgan) and Isobel (Devon.) Unfortunately Gladys and Georgie were unable to attend the funeral due to ill health, but Isobel, her husband John and her niece Debbie were there to say their final farewell. Susan was born in Banbridge, she grew up in Hill Street, attended the Church School and then transferred to the Abercorn School.

Her first job when she left school was in Walker’s, working in the stitching department and this was where she learned and developed the skills, which she would use throughout the rest of her working life.

In the early 50s, she moved to a new job in the local Down Shoes shoe factory and she worked there until the early 60s, when she left to rear her young family.

In the early 70s she got a job in Ray and Bramall’s and her duties entailed manufacturing handbags for various companies including Marks and Spencer.

She subsequently returned to work in Down Shoes and remained there until she retired.

Susan and Paul met on Christmas Eve, their love blossomed and they were married in Holy Trinity Parish Church in 1962. They first set up home in Newry Street and then moved house on a number of occasions, before settling in 18 Ashley Gardens.

In 1966 Susan joined the Women’s section of the Royal British Legion and for over 30 years she acted as a poppy seller.

She was a member of a number of local groups, namely the Arthritis Support Group, the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship and the local Victoria Club (where she made the tea for approximately 70 people every Thursday afternoon).

For a number of years she attended a local sewing class and she proudly displayed the goods that she had made at various church craft exhibitions.

Susan also acted as a volunteer in the Methodist Church’s New Life charity shop.

Using the skills that she developed during her working life, she turned her sewing, stitching and knitting skills into a hobby, so that she could help others.

She knitted hundreds of teddy bears and the majority of these were donated to Christian based charities. Often she received letters of thanks from Uganda and these included photos of little children hugging the teddies, which she had made.

She also knitted dish cloths, which ended up in various locations all over the world. On a number of occasions she received a sum of money for these dish cloths and she always donated this to MacMillan Cancer.

More recently she knitted Christmas hedgehogs and Easter Chicks and these were used to help raise funds for another local charity.

In 2014 in recognition for all of her charitable work Susan received a much deserved Community Award from Banbridge District Council.

Susan’s greatest love was for her family. She was an enormously proud mother and grandmother and she did everything that she could do to support and encourage every member of her family.

Susan will ultimately be remembered as a very charitable lady who loved her faith and her faith drove her to help others. In fact she often quoted “it is more blessed to give, than to receive.”

Her kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.

She passed away at Craigavon Hospital, surrounded by her family.

The funeral service, on Thursday 22 October, was attended by a large crowd. Her favourite hymns “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art” were sung. She was laid to rest in the New Cemetery.

Wm Bell & Co had charge of the funeral arrangements. A family bouquet was placed on the grave and donations in lieu of flowers are being sent to Wm Bell & Co for Holy Trinity Parish Church and Marie Curie