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Why that mother and daughter bond is just so special

Ahead of Mother's Day this Sunday, some of our best-known faces tell Stephanie Bell what they value most about a very important relationship

It has the lowest pay and the longest hours of any job but there isn't a woman in the world who would swap being a mum for something else. Whether it's cleaning up after us, or providing a shoulder to cry on, they're always there for us with a wise word or a bit of extra motivation.

That's why on at least one day in the year, Mother's Day, mums can look forward to a well-earned day off when it's their time to sit back, relax and be pampered.

As we prepare to celebrate and spoil our mums this Sunday we caught up with some local personalities who talked about the special mother/daughter bond.

'It annoys me when people say bad things about her'

SDLP MLA for Upper Bann Dolores Kelly (55) was expecting her youngest daughter Kathleen (21) when she first entered politics. Delores is married to Eamon (56), a bricklayer, and they have two other daughters, Catriona (30), Fionnuala (28), and a son, Matthew (24). She says:

Kathleen was born four weeks after my mum died at 54, and she was called Kathleen, too. She has a really good sense of humour and because there is an age gap between her and her sisters she grew up with Matthew and was a bit of a tomboy when she was younger.

I remember when she was about three or four, I had her hair tied back in a ponytail and she came running into the living room with this lump of hair round her face. I went to fix it and there was no hair at the back.

Matthew had cut it off and I found the ponytail with the go-go still on it lying under the bed. Kathleen and Matthew thought it was hilarious. Her hair now is her crowning glory.

She is a bit more temperamental than the others. If anyone says anything about me on social media that she doesn't like, she will let them know what she thinks. My children have had to put up with people saying things to them about me and it is upsetting.

She is thoughtful, as all my children are. She is taking me out for lunch on Sunday for Mother's Day and hopefully the others will be there and we will have a nice family celebration."

Kathleen says:

Mum has always been very hard-working. When I was younger she would have spoiled me at weekends. I think I got that little bit extra bit attention because I was the youngest and she would take me and my friends out to the pool or the park and my sisters would have been jealous.

I'm very proud of mum. When I go out and people say positive things about her and we see her on TV and the radio, we are all proud of her.

I would always try to be like her, although I don't have the thick skin she has to go into politics. It does annoy me when people say negative things about mum and it is always mum who cheers me up. It doesn't bother her as much as it bothers me.

Mum is the first person I would ring if I had a problem or need anything. If any of my friends or their family has a problem they are always amazed how quickly she gets it sorted out.

We will take her out for a meal on Mother's Day and we usually each buy her a present, although we will ask her what she wants because she can be very picky."

'She has been there for me through my divorce, and is solid as a rock'

Actress, TV presenter and former Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett (33), from Belfast, enjoys a special friendship with her mum Margaret (54), a classroom assistant. Gemma has a sister, Lisa (35), and brother, Stephen (28), and her dad Stephen (58) works as a security manager. She says:

Mum was quite young when I was born so throughout my teenage years and my 20s it felt like we grew up together. She is fantastic, very down to earth and open-minded. Sometimes when I am going out with the girls she will come with us, although not all the time.

There is nothing I wouldn't talk to her about and I always feel like I am talking to a friend, although obviously I have a lot of respect for her.

Mum is very stylish but I never felt the need to say to her 'You are too old to wear that'.

It has got to the stage now that I am starting to dress more like her, as I think my tastes have matured.

I am going through a divorce at the moment.

I married one of my best friends so we are fortunate that it is amicable and we still talk every day but despite that it is still tough.

My heart goes out to anyone who is going through a nasty divorce as it must be hell.

Mum has been there for me through it, she is as solid as a rock and full of wisdom.

One thing she taught me but I haven't mastered yet is that if you raise your voice and shout you have lost the argument.

My temperament would be more like my dad's and I would have a very short fuse, whereas mum is quite serene and believes that anything can be talked through."

Margaret says:

Growing up, Gemma was always very sociable and if you had a camera she would have wanted to have her picture taken.

It didn't surprise me that she chose modelling as a career.

She is very clever and got great results in her 11-plus but, unlike the other two, she didn't want to go to university. I love the bond we have and the fact that we can go on girlie nights out together.

We've been everywhere together and we recently spent a weekend in London with my other daughter as well and we had great fun.

If I don't see Gemma for some reason during the day we will talk on the phone. I usually do get spoilt on Mother's Day and we will be spending some part of the day together as a family and that's the main thing for me, as long as we are all together."

'The whole family relies on her, she has a heart of gold'

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson (49) has always enjoyed a close relationship with her mum Joanie Elliott (68), who is now retired after running a bathroom and plumbing business in Banbridge with her husband Eric (70). She also has a sister, Belinda, (47). Jo-Anne is married to John (51), a farmer, and they have two sons Elliott (24) and Mark (21). She says:

Mum is the most wonderful mother, and I am not just saying that. Anyone who's met her will know her to have a heart of gold.

She would give her last penny to anyone and the coat off her back - in fact, I have actually seen her do that.

Mum lost her own mum at 41 from cancer and at the time I was just two, and Belinda was nine months old. Even though she was a young mother herself she nursed her mum during a long battle with cancer and, as the oldest of six children, she then assumed the role of mother figure - to this day her own family turn to her if they need anything. People have always gone to my mum for help and advice. Lots of people say to me 'Your mum would have made a superb politician', and they are right. She got me involved in the Unionist Party all those years ago in a voluntary capacity.

Growing up, I would never have thought of going into politics, I thought I would probably be a teacher. Once you get in, though, you really get an appetite for it.

Mum does a lot of work for cancer charities and she is the 'go to' person in Banbridge for everyone. She has such boundless energy and enthusiasm. She is a cheerleader and a trailblazer.

On Mother's Day we will be having a family dinner round my kitchen table. I will cook a roast and mum and dad will come and we will just have quality time with the family."

Joanie says:

Even as a young child Jo-Anne was very loving and affectionate. She is very caring towards her dad, her sister and myself.

I love people, and I love talking to people, and Jo-Anne is the same.

As a young child and at school she had lots and lots of friends. I would have taken her to charity fashion shows with me and she would have loved chirping away and chatting to everyone.

Jo-Anne has a real appetite for life and she is an optimist. She is also a very hard worker and I would text her quite often and ask her if she is going to get a wee rest or could get an early night.

I know she thrives on being busy. When she went into politics I was absolutely delighted. She is kind-hearted and can listen to people's problems and really feel for them and want to help.

Nothing is a problem for her.

When I am up the town in Banbridge people stop me and ask me if Jo-Anne could help them with something and I take notes and text her and she is always happy to contact anyone who needs her help."

'Mum and dad played good cop, bad cop ... she was soft'

TV presenter Pamela Ballantine (56) has great admiration for her mum Edna Rolston (82). Pamela’s father Bob passed away 18 years ago and she has a brother Peter (57) and a sister, Suzie Farr (50). She says:

When we were growing up if there was something you wanted, which you might not normally be allowed to do, we would go to mum. She was the soft touch.

She and dad had this great 'good cop, bad cop' double-act going on.

Dad was the patriarch of the house and if mum wasn't sure she would always say 'Ask your father'.

Mum rarely gave off and if she did you didn't mind but when she said the words 'I am very disappointed in you', you were really cut right to the quick.

Mum's brilliant - she is always going off on skiing holidays, so she's spent the kids' inheritance. We are very lucky that she is so independent.

To me age is a number and a state of mind and a lot of my friends' parents have decided they are elderly, whereas mum is just happy to travel all over the place.

If I ever need her she is there. At times when I've had trouble in work mum was on the phone and the first thing she asks is 'Are you alright, do you need anything, what can I do'.

She is very practical and more than generous, not just with advice but personally as well.

She has a good circle of friends and she still drives and takes her dog for a walk and meets with her bridge friends and goes out to dinner and lunches; she has a great social life and is pretty level-headed."

Edna says:

Pamela has always been a people person. If anyone came to our house to see her father or me, Pamela was always interested in meeting them.

Her brother is slightly older than she is but when they were little Pamela was always the leader.

She is also very loyal to both her family and her friends. She always could see the fun in most things.

It didn't surprise me at all the career she has had, although it was something she fell into.

She had glandular fever when she was doing her O Levels which meant school was interrupted for her for six months and she didn't do her A Levels. She went to the College of Business Studies instead and they were doing mock interviews to teach the young people how to perform at interviews.

Pamela did one for a secretary's job in Downtown Radio but didn't realise it was a real interview and she got the job.

Not long after, one of the presenters was off sick and she ended up on radio. She has the gift of the gab but she was never rude or pushy, she just chatted.

It amazes me that when I meet people I am unusually introduced as Pamela Ballantine's mother. She has done very well and if her father was here he would be very proud of her, too.

She is a nice, friendly, outgoing person. I don't see her as Pamela Ballantine on the TV, she is Pamela my daughter and I am equally proud of all my children."

How tradition of appreciation was born

  • While Mothering Sunday is a holiday celebrated by Christians across Europe, there is also a separate, secular event called Mother’s Day, which is largely celebrated in the USA
  • The latter was first celebrated in 1908, when West Virginian woman Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her late mother. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognised holiday in the US had begun three years earlier, the year her mother had died
  • It is believed that Mothering Sunday, however, evolved from the 16th-Century Christian practice of visiting one’s mother church annually on the fourth Sunday in Lent
  • It was the influence of the American Mother’s Day, which saw Mothering Sunday transformed into the tradition of showing appreciation to one’s mother

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