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The mother who died of a broken heart: Pat Dorrian was haunted to the very end over beloved daughter Lisa

By Rebecca Black

Published 30/12/2015

Patricia and her daughter Lisa on holiday together in 1994
Patricia and her daughter Lisa on holiday together in 1994
Patricia Dorrian at yet another Press appeal earlier this year on the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Lisa
Wiping a tear from her eye, Patricia Dorrian appeals to the public at the time of her daughter Lisa’s disappearance in 2005. Above: at yet another Press appeal earlier this year on the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of Lisa (far left
Lisa Dorrian

The mother of Lisa Dorrian died with a broken heart, never having had the chance to bury her daughter who disappeared more than a decade ago, an MP has said.

Yesterday, tributes were paid to Pat Dorrian (59), the "brave and dignified" mother who died without ever finding out what happened to her daughter, who police believe was murdered.

Bangor woman Pat was thrust into the public eye when hairdresser Lisa disappeared from a caravan park after a party in Ballyhalbert on the Ards peninsula on February 28, 2005.

No trace has ever been found of the 25-year-old woman.

Despite a series of arrests, the identification of around 4,000 potential witnesses and more than 275 searches, no one has been brought to justice.

Loyalist paramilitaries were linked with her disappearance.

Pat bravely led numerous public appeals pleading for information to help find her daughter, but after campaigning for 10 years with husband John, she died on Monday.

In February, Mrs Dorrian joined other family members on the 10th anniversary of Lisa's disappearance to urge those who knew where her body was hidden to end their torment. She said the family had struggled each and every day since her daughter went missing.

"Listen and watch and see the pain on our faces when you see this on the news or in the newspapers," Mrs Dorrian said in a stark message to those who knew what happened to Lisa.

The Dorrian family said in a statement that Pat was admitted to hospital on Sunday and died on Monday.

North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon said she believes the heartache of losing Lisa took its toll on Pat's health.

"News of Pat's death came as a dreadful shock, and I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact I won't see her again or hear her distinctive voice or share another pot of tea with her," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The pain of losing Lisa, her eldest daughter, in such awful circumstances and of never having had the chance to give her a proper Christian burial undoubtedly took a terrible toll on Pat's health.

"Her heart ached every day of every year without Lisa. Every day she longed for the discovery and return of Lisa's remains, but that just wasn't to be. It's so very sad and so cruel that Pat hasn't lived long enough for that to happen."

DUP MLA Peter Weir paid tribute to Mrs Dorrian's "determination and quiet dignity".

"She did not seek vengeance or retribution, but merely wanted to be reunited with the body of her daughter to give her a decent Christian burial," he said.

"It is both heartbreaking and unspeakably cruel that Pat passed away without ever finding out what happened to her daughter or her whereabouts.

"She was denied closure before her death, and while nothing will fix this now, I urge anyone even at this belated hour to give some comfort to her family at this time of grief, by finally sharing the necessary information of the location of Lisa Dorrian. It may be too late for Pat, but at least it would honour her memory if the right thing was eventually done."

Independent councillor Alan Chambers, who runs a newsagent's in Groomsport, paid tribute to Pat's generosity and kindness to others. He recalled her helping with a collection to install a defibrillator locally.

"Pat brought down bags of saved small coins for the Spar defib collection," he said.

"I think it epitomised the brave and dignified way she carried the huge burden, and sadness, of the loss of her beloved daughter Lisa that she was so caring towards, and thoughtful of others.

"There are many stories that could be told of her acts of selfless kindness. She will be sadly missed not only by her loving family but by all those in the village where she lived, who had their lives touched by this lovely gentle woman."

Pat Dorrian is survived by her husband John and daughters Joanne, Michelle and Ciara.

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed the investigation into Lisa's disappearance is ongoing, but added: "It would be inappropriate to go into any detail about the investigation at this time."

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