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Campaigner Helen Duffin who lost husband in loyalist bookmakers shooting dies


Tribute: Helen Duffin

Tribute: Helen Duffin

Tribute: Helen Duffin

The son of one of the victims of a notorious loyalist shooting has paid tribute to his mother following her death just two days after marking her 92nd birthday.

Helen Duffin passed away in the early hours of last Sunday morning at Arlington Nursing Home in south Belfast, where she had been a resident for seven years.

Her husband Jack was one of five people killed on February 5, 1992 when UFF terrorists opened fire on the Sean Graham bookmakers shop on Belfast's lower Ormeau Road.

Mrs Duffin was among the relatives of those killed who campaigned for an investigation into the mass shooting.

A native of Forkhill in south Armagh, Helen (nee Toal) moved to Belfast as a young woman to work as a nanny.

She married Jack in 1948 and together they had three sons - Martin, Paddy and Tommy - and lived at 92 Balfour Avenue from 1964.

Tommy (58) told the Belfast Telegraph that the current Covid-19 restrictions meant his mother's funeral could not be held at her home parish of St Malachy's Church.

"My mother was a very religious woman who regularly attended mass. After our father died she never showed her grief in front of us and always remained very strong," he said.

"Her strong faith helped her get through that time and her main concern throughout her whole life was always caring for the three of us and later on her grandchildren."

Mrs Duffin's funeral was held at the Chapel of Rest at PJ Brown Funeral Directors on the Oldpark Road followed by burial in the city cemetery.

"We hope to have a family mass in St Malachy's when this situation passes, but realistically we might have to wait until her first anniversary next year," Tommy added.

Predeceased by her son Martin in January 2013, Mrs Duffin is survived by sons Tommy and Paddy, 12 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Belfast Telegraph