Belfast Telegraph

Love for murdered son drove Bea Worton's campaign, funeral told

Mourners at the funeral of victims’ campaigner Bea Worton
Mourners at the funeral of victims’ campaigner Bea Worton
Mourners at the funeral of victims’ campaigner Bea Worton
Mourners at the funeral of victims’ campaigner Bea Worton
Bea Worton
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

The funeral of a victims' crusader who lost her son in the Kingsmill massacre has been told how she brought hope to others.

Bea Worton (91) died in hospital on Friday evening without seeing justice, despite decades of campaigning.

Kenneth Worton was 24 when he was gunned down along with nine other Protestant workmen when their minibus was ambushed by the IRA in Whitecross, Co Armagh, in January 1976.

The funeral service for great-great-grandmother Mrs Worton took place in 1st Markethill Presbyterian Church, followed by interment in the adjoining graveyard.

The Rev Nigel Reid conducted the service and said his words would "never be enough for a lady that was an inspiration to all who knew and loved her".

He told mourners how Mrs Worton had served in the RAF in England and married her late husband George in 1948.

The loss of her son had been her darkest day, he continued.

"Bea experienced the greatest pain that a mother could experience, that of losing a son you loved at the hands of evil terrorists," he said.

"That pain and love drove Bea to seek to remember Kenneth and to be true to her much-loved son, seeking the last thing that she could do for him and that was justice.

"It is so, so sad that this nation has failed Bea as she has left this earthly life without seeing justice achieved for her precious son."

Rev Reid said that despite her suffering, Mrs Worton had brought hope to her family and many other victims of terrorism.

"Bea was extremely loyal to her country. Signing up to the Royal Air Force, she was also a serving Greenfinch, being greatly committed to the Ulster Defence Regiment, she served her country for 13 years with great cost.

"As a member of the UDR she saw many colleagues and friends lose their lives. Bea knew the cost of service in the UDR."

Rev Reid said it was "very justified" that Mrs Worton had been awarded the British Empire Medal.

He added: "I pay tribute today to Bea's humble, determined quest for truth and justice. I pay tribute to her for the life and loyalty that set Bea apart as an inspirational woman. I often told Bea that she was an inspiration to me."

He added that he would remember Mrs Worton for her "beautiful warm smile that melted your heart".

A family notice said that Mrs Worton was the dearly loved wife of the late George and devoted mother to Jennifer, Jacqueline, Dennis, Colin and the late Kenneth.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph over the weekend, Colin said his mother "had a long life, but not a very happy one" after the trauma of losing Kenneth.

He also paid tribute to her always "dignified quest for truth and justice".

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