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Town turns out in force as 'first lady of Ballymoney' Mollie is laid to rest

By Lauara Abernethy

Published 30/01/2016

The funeral cortege makes its way from St Patrick’s Church in Ballymoney
The funeral cortege makes its way from St Patrick’s Church in Ballymoney
The coffin of Mollie Holmes is carried into the church
Ian Paisley
Mervyn Storey
Mollie Holmes

The "first lady of Ballymoney" was laid to rest yesterday in the cemetery of the town she had served for most of her life.

Former mayor Mollie Holmes died peacefully at home at the age of 101 earlier this week.

Hundreds of mourners from all sections of the community attended her funeral yesterday at St Patrick's Church in Ballymoney.

Local historian Alex Blair gave a tribute on behalf of Mollie's family.

Mr Blair was behind a book called Mollie's Memories that detailed the life story of the extraordinary woman.

Her coffin was walked from the church to Ballymoney cemetery where she was laid to rest.

Finance Minister and North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey was one of many political representatives who were at the service for Mollie.

He said: "It was a big funeral for someone who played a huge part in the life of Ballymoney, and I think it was a fitting tribute by someone who was loved so much by her community.

"There was a wide representation of public and civic figures along with the local community, who said a sad farewell to a much-loved individual."

Mollie had been involved in politics for over 30 years. She was the first woman to be elected to Ballymoney Urban District Council in May 1955, and served for eight consecutive terms as mayor of Ballymoney.

Although she stepped down as an elected representative in 1985, she still carried out work in the local community. Marking her 101st birthday, she said that her driving force was always to help other people.

Mollie had one son, James, who lived with her at her home on Charlotte Street in the Co Antrim town.

When interviewed on her 100th birthday, she said: "I've had plenty of life and have enjoyed life and all that belongs to it. I've no regrets. I've had a wonderful life."

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