Belfast Telegraph

Former Belfast Telegraph women's editor Betty Rainsford was modest and humble, funeral told

By Staff Reporter

Family and friends of former Belfast Telegraph journalist Betty Rainsford (nee Lowry) came together to pay their respects at her funeral on Thursday.

The pioneering journalist died peacefully on Christmas Eve at the sheltered housing facility where she had lived for a number of years.

She was 99 years old.

Officiating at the funeral service, held in St Columbanus' Church in Ballyholme, Co Down, was Rector Simon Doogan, who spoke movingly of the "old-fashioned Christian" he had come to know.

Mourners at the funeral of Betty Rainsford, former women’s editor of the Belfast Telegraph
Mourners at the funeral of Betty Rainsford, former women’s editor of the Belfast Telegraph

"When I first arrived in Ballyholme in 2008 Betty had just about the shortest commute to church of all our parishioners," the clergyman said.

"She lived just along the road from St Columbanus in the family home on the Groomsport Road, and right up until her move to Abbeyfield the path between the two doors was extremely well-trodden.

"The failing state of Betty's short-term memory became increasingly a factor, but a combination of self-deprecating Ulster modesty and simple, old-fashioned Christian humility, meant Betty never wore her considerable professional achievements on her sleeve. Betty died on Christmas Eve, departing this world the night we celebrated her saviour's arrival into it," the rector told the congregation.

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Betty, who was married to decorated serviceman Lt Col (Ret) Bathoe Rainsford, has been credited with helping blaze the trail for other female journalists in Northern Ireland.

She was women's editor of the Belfast Telegraph for 20 years, as well as being a hugely respected drama critic whose reviews could make or break a play.

Betty, who had joined the staff of the Belfast Telegraph as a reporter in 1956, covered a varied mix of stories, including politics.

Several of her analytical pieces are still widely quoted on the internet and in books.

She retired from her post at the Belfast Telegraph in 1981.

Betty Rainsford
Betty Rainsford

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