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Elsie Frizzell, who lost her husband and daughter in IRA's Shankill bombing, dies at 89

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The late Elsie Frizzell with son-in-law Alan McBride

The late Elsie Frizzell with son-in-law Alan McBride

The late Elsie Frizzell with son-in-law Alan McBride

Warm tributes have been paid to a woman who lost her husband and daughter in the Shankill bombing.

Elsie Frizzell, who had been living at Ravenhill Nursing Home overlooking Belfast Lough for the past three years, died on Monday at the age of 89.

She owned Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road with husband Desmond when an IRA bomb exploded in October 1993, killing nine people.

Her husband and daughter Sharon McBride were among those to lose their lives.

Son-in-law Alan McBride remained in constant contact with Elsie and said his family had lost its matriarch. "Elsie was the strongest of all of us," he added. "An amazing woman in so many ways. In 1993 when the Troubles claimed the lives of her daughter Sharon and husband Desmond, it was Elsie who helped me see that life could be good again.

"She worked with me for a number of years at the YMCA before following me to work at the Wave Trauma Centre. I used to joke that if you employed me you got Elsie for free.

"Elsie was old-school, incredibly independent and doggedly determined to do what she could for other people.

"She found a second home at Wave, where she worked in the front office up until a few years ago when old age and failing health limited her mobility. Even in poor health you couldn't keep Elsie away. She made her final trip to Wave in December 2019 at the seniors' Christmas get-together.

"As a family we are grateful she remained in good spirits and though I'd love to speak about her at the funeral, it doesn't look it will be possible given the current restrictions."

One of Elsie's closest companions through the last three decades, the Rev David Clements, was the man who sat with she and Alan as they were given the news that the bomb had claimed the lives of their loved ones.

"That day will stay with me forever," said Rev Clements, who was at Woodvale Methodist at the time of the bombing.

"I sat with them in the Methodist coffee shop on the Shankill then went with them to the Mater Hospital where they were told the news.

"We remained in touch ever since and Elsie was such a wonderful woman of faith and courage. Her strong Christian character helped her to go on and support others who had suffered like her. We can take comfort in that Elsie has found her release and is again with her Desmond."

Also paying tribute, Sandra Peake, chief executive of the Wave Trauma Centre, said Elsie was "a real character".

"We've lost a dear friend," she added. "Elsie was a remarkable woman. She was caring and compassionate, took no nonsense and was a real character.

"Elsie was well aware of why Wave was so important for many individuals and families as she had suffered too.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Elsie's children Beth and John and their families and with her son-in-law Alan and his daughter Zoe."

Belfast Telegraph


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