Tragic Julie Lewis's name up in lights with Belfast mural tribute
Tragic stage and TV actress Julie Lewis's name has gone up in lights in a poignant memorial to her in the Belfast pub where she died suddenly on a night out with her husband in August.
Pedro Donald, the owner of the Sunflower bar in Union Street, organised the tribute to the 36-year-old star of the BBC's Soft Border Patrol series and her actress friend, Caroline Curran unveiled the mural on a wall of the bar's beer garden.
Dozens of friends and relations heard Caroline say that the painting of Julie's illuminated name in a spotlight, against partially opened theatre curtains along with her date of birth and the date of the day she died, would keep her memory alive forever.
"It was a very emotional night for everyone who was there. The mural is magnificent and means Julie's name will be lit up for all time," said Caroline, who is currently in rehearsals for the revival of a show that she wrote with Julie, A Big Fat Belfast Christmas which opens at the Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey on December 3.
Julie's husband Rhodri wasn't at the Sunflower ceremony. Friends said it would have been too much for the Welsh actor to return to the Sunflower so soon after his wife's death in the pub from natural causes.
Instead Rhodri waited in a nearby bar with friends for others from the Sunflower to join him afterwards.
Pedro Donald said he wanted to mark Julie's passing in his pub in a dignified fashion.
Please log in or register with belfasttelegraph.co.uk for free access to this article.
"I hope the memorial will let people remember a very talented and popular young woman who meant so much to so many folk here," he added.
The painting was the work of artist and illustrator Conor McClure who has produced murals and t-shirts for the Sunflower in the past.
The memorial for Julie was special, said Conor, who added: "I didn't know Julie but I have heard great things about her from people in the arts community. So I was flattered to be asked to pay tribute to her.
"I talked to Pedro, Julie's family and her friends about the design of the painting and when I showed it to them they approved it. Their response gave me a huge sense of satisfaction."