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Inspirational wild foraging enthusiast Mary Hughes dies at the age of 65

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 30/12/2015

Mary Hughes had asked people to wear bright colours to her funeral
Mary Hughes had asked people to wear bright colours to her funeral

Mary Hughes will be remembered as a kind woman who loved life and laughter, following her untimely death from cancer.

Mrs Hughes, originally from Whiteabbley but living in the Galwally Park area of south Belfast, was a physiotherapist, artist and co-creator of Forage Ireland.

The 65-year-old, whose life motto was: "Be kind, laugh and say it as it is", had been ill for the past three years.

She died on Sunday, with husband Dermot by her side.

Mary moved to Belfast's Ormeau Road in the 1980s when she married. She is survived by Dermot and their children Susan, Tom, Jack and Sally, grandson Laurence and wider family circle.

Mary's daughter, Susan, told the Belfast Telegraph her parents started Forage Ireland many years ago to "relay their life ethos to other people".

They led workshop activities such as blackberry-picking to make jam, and willow-picking to make wreaths for Christmas.

"She foraged tweed offcuts from all over Ireland, Scotland and England and then made rugs to sell for the children of Syria, raising over £6,000 for Oxfam," Susan said.

"My father is a conservationist so brings those skills, and mum was into baking and poetry and sensory things we have lost in our society."

Susan has countless fond memories of Mary and praised her skills as a mother and her unstinting compassion for others in general.

"She reared us to be independent, creative thinkers, so we are all artists and musicians and love walking by the sea," she explained.

"We lived very fulfilled lives and care for other people the way she did.

The fun-spirited grandmother will be buried in her pink Doctor Marten boots.

Her funeral service - at which mourners are requested to wear bright coloured clothing - will take place today at the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road at 10am.

Burial will follow at noon in Saul Graveyard in Downpatrick.

Belfast Telegraph

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