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Modelling agency boss leads the tributes to Zoe Salmon's 'beautiful' late mother

By Claire McNeilly

Published 10/09/2016

Zoe Salmon on a night out with her mother Priscilla
Zoe Salmon on a night out with her mother Priscilla
The pair when the former Miss Northern Ireland was a baby

Modelling boss Alison Clarke has led tributes to former Miss Northern Ireland Zoe Salmon's "beautiful" late mother, whom she described as "a true lady".

Close friends have said the 36-year-old Bangor-born TV presenter is devastated after 'best mum of all' Priscilla passed away peacefuly at home on Tuesday.

Hundreds of mourners are expected to turn out to say a final farewell to the late Mrs Salmon during a service which will be held today at Clarke's Funeral Church in Bangor.

Afterwards, the mother-of-four, who was aged in her 60s when she passed away after an illness, will be laid to rest in Blaris New Cemetery in Lisburn.

ACA agency owner Alison, who knew Priscilla through modelling work, offered her condolences to her close personal friend Zoe, her father Joe, her sisters Lara and Naomi and her brother Julian.

"It is with so much sadness that we send deepest sympathies to our long time best friend and model Zoe Salmon, on the passing of her beautiful mum Priscilla," the wife of Ryder Cup golf captain Darren Clarke said on Facebook.

"Zoe and the whole Salmon family, Lara, Naomi, Julian and dad Joe are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.

"Priscilla modelled for the agency in advertising shots when Zoe was Miss Northern Ireland and afterwards, and was a true lady in every respect. May she rest in peace xoxo.

"The funeral is on Saturday. ACx."

Newlywed Zoe, who tied the knot with Newtownards butcher William Corrie (30) in an intimate ceremony in Barbados in May, was extremely close to her mother, who she said was sometimes mistaken for her sister.

"All mums are my heroes," said the Queen's University Belfast law graduate.

"Everyone always says the same about their mum - but mine is the best.

"What I love about my mum is that she is the opposite of me - she is very quiet and patient. I'm always on the go and it's so refreshing that she is so normal.

"She is a real breath of fresh air. Everyone says I look like my mum."

An emotional notice placed by the Salmon family following their heartbreaking loss, read: "God saw the road was getting rough, the hills were hard to climb, He gently closed her eyes and whispered, 'peace be thine'."

Businesswoman Deborah Armstrong (40), wife of Northern Ireland football legend Gerry Armstrong, has been friends with Zoe for 20 years and lost her own mother, Marian, when she was just 17.

"I'm devastated for her," she said.

"I lost my mum at a young age and I know the heartache. It brings it back. I realise the pain Zoe's going through. She is in our thoughts and prayers."

Former Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett, who said she was very close to Zoe when she first started modelling, added that she had been in touch with the ex-Blue Peter presenter to offer her sympathies.

"I'll be keeping her in my prayers," the 34-year-old ex-Miss Belfast said.

"Today will be a really difficult day for her and her family and and I'll be thinking about her and her family during this terrible time."

Miss Northern Ireland 2012 Tiffany Brien (26), who is known for her inspirational fitness posts, said that her thoughts were with her modelling colleague.

"When something like this happens it always brings it all home and I can't imagine what Zoe is going through," she said.

"I'm sure she getting lots of support from her husband Will and her close friends.

"It is an awful time for her and her family and I want her to know my thoughts and prayers are with her."

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