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Edna Thompson: Woman with a devotion to choral music and her tenor husband

In her heyday Edna Thompson, who has died at the age of 86, never missed a concert by Ballyclare Male Voice Choir, the Grosvenor Hall Male Choir, the King's Chorale, Larne Choral Society or the Wesley Singers.

For all five were conducted by her late husband Billy up until his death 17 years ago. "And even after his passing she continued to attend their concerts," says the Rev Margaret Ferguson who conducted Edna's funeral service at the East Belfast Mission with the Rev Trevor Kennedy.

When Billy, a renowned tenor, was singing on solo occasions, Edna was there. On occasions when the Ballyclare Male Voice choir was performing abroad in countries like Norway, Edna travelled too. And she was by his side when he received the MBE for services to music at Buckingham Palace.

"My mother wasn't at concerts just because father was on the rostrum," says their son Allen (63) who used to sing with the Wesley.

"She loved choral music and was involved with the choir at the Mission. She gave up going to concerts when her health started to fail a few years ago."

Edna and Billy knew one another from childhood. She lived in Kathleen Street on the Newtownards Road, Belfast, and he was not far away, round the corner in Central Street.

They were married for nearly 50 years after their wedding in 1948.

Her favourite hymn, Blessed Assurance, was sung at the funeral service and Edna was buried beside Billy in Comber Graveyard.

She is survived by Allen, his wife Patricia, grandson Graham, his wife Jane and granddaughter Ruth.

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