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In Memory of Margaret Harper

     In memory of Margaret Harper
1943 - 2021

A sad occasion like this today is an occasion to reminisce and to allow the mind to linger on moments from the past. Memories flood back of childhood experiences of being cared for, encouraged and loved. For her family the first school you ever attended was on your mother’s lap. This is a time when gratitude for a loving mother wells up in your hearts for a “job well done”. It is a time of awakening to an appreciation of the gifts and blessings received. It is only in hindsight that the gift becomes clear. Life is lived going forwards but understood looking backwards.

Margaret Mary Bernadette Harper was 78 years old, born on the 2nd April 1943 in Bleary, Sugar Island Road, daughter of Joseph and Agnes Fitzpatrick and Sister of Una, Olivia, Brenda, Tony, John and the late Dermot, Sheila and Raymond. Attended Lylo Primary School where she had her first Holy Communion and her Confirmation.

Margaret's brother John recalls how she always stuck up for him and his siblings. When John was starting school and as he was going up the hill, before he got to the door he was chickening out and Margaret gave him some encouragement and into school he went. Margaret was "the boss" you gave your opinion and she told you if it was worth anything or not. She had a firm hand and kept the family together after the death of their mother at an early age.

Margaret left school and worked in Banners Factory and held the position Quality Control, then started working in Gilford Mill until it shut down.

She met her beloved Husband Winston in 1965 and they got wed on the 1st of January 1970 in a mixed marriage at a difficult time during the Troubles, and shared 51 years together. They moved to Wincey's family home in Gilford, 145 High Street, until their family grew up, then onto 78 Woodlands, Gilford, which became the family home for Margaret and Winston and their 9 children.

Memories you have of your mum wearing maternity dress and her hair in curlers, going to the Legion with dad on Friday night to meet with friends for a game of bowls. The smell of the rubber from the twin tub washing machine which she seemed to spend most of her days at, filled the house, then hanging the clothes on the line in the entry because there was no room in the back garden, which was taken up by dad’s pigeon sheds. She was always cooking, she always prepared a pot of porridge before school. Her homemade chips were the best, she would have fed half of Woodlands and the house was always open to anyone, always full of children sometimes counting as many as 20 people for Sunday dinner. She was always looking after her Grandchildren, she was the most caring, hard working strong woman.

Margaret enjoyed starting her Morning off with a milky coffee, and spending her afternoons watching sports. It may have been Cricket, Horse racing or football, she loved to put a wee bet on and await the results on Saturday. Her evenings often ended with Margaret having a well deserved Vodka and Coke whilst watching her soaps.

She was always happy to have her Family around her, she always had to know where they were and what they were doing and not much got passed her. She enjoyed visits from her friends Willa, Thelma and Angela when she wasn't unable to get out as much.

She first travelled abroad in 2006 for her daughter Victoria's wedding in Cyprus and although she was terrified of flying it didn't stop her from going on another 3 holidays after that with her family. As time went on she loved her weekends away to Cranfield with her daughters and grandchildren where she especially loved watching the fishing boats coming in at night.

She had 17 Grand Children and 6 Great Grand Children and was loved dearly by them all.

Family would like to thank everyone who cared for Margaret toward the end of her life, the community respiratory team, and all the nurses and doctors and Gilford Health Centre who went above and beyond.

All who helped at the house with food and errands, too many to thank individually.

Home we all know is where the heart is and today the heart is not at home. The heart has gone to a different place. For it is true that today home is joined to heaven in a more profound way.

So we give thanks to God for her life and it is with confidence that we pray to the same God to give her eternal rest.

We remember a lovely person, a lady who was a treasure to you all. Today then we bid farewell to Margaret. Despite your sense of loss, you will face the future with courage and hope, knowing that that is what your mummy would want you to do. We comfort one another in the sure confidence that for Margaret life has changed, not ended. We also derive comfort from the conviction that she is at peace with God after all the years.

I extend our sympathy today to her loving family, husband Winston, sons Gregory, Thomas, Jason, Richard, daughters Diane, Caroline, Nicola, Victoria and Gail. Grandchildren, great grandchildren and the entire family circle.




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