A selfless charity and church worker

Peggy Matthews.
Peggy Matthews.

On the sunny afternoon of Sunday, April 17, a packed congregation at Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church shared in a service of thanksgiving for the long life of Mrs Peggy Mathews who died the previous Thursday, in her 94th year, after a brief illness.

Her sons Kenneth (a GP in Norwich) and Colin (GP in Portadown), daughter-in-law Margaret and grandchildren, Kyle and Caroline, had laid her to rest earlier in the day at Kernan Cemetery.

Peggy Hamilton was born on May 25, 1922, the middle of three girls born to James and Ellen Hamilton. She is pre-deceased by her elder sister Pat, and her younger sister Linda Pentland remains in good health.

Peggy’s father James was a commercial traveller in the shoe trade, based in Belfast. Ellen, her mother, had been born in Scotland but came at two years old with her parents to live in Belfast.

Growing up in north Belfast between the Wars was difficult, but Peggy and her sisters seemed to have great fun at the various sports clubs and in the activities at Lynn Memorial Methodist Church. She also told stories of hiding under the stairs during the Belfast Blitz 75 years ago.

Eager to help the war effort, Peggy joined the WRNS and served at Belfast Castle until VE Day in 1945. Following the war, she was a secretary in the architect’s firm of Hobart & Heron in the city.

Always vivacious and good company, Peggy was introduced in the late 1940s to young Dr Jim Mathews from Ballymoney at a party in Magherafelt.

The romance blossomed and marriage soon followed in 1950 and a life as the doctor’s wife ensued in Portadown.

Peggy was a wonderful support to the young doctor as he established a successful General Practice, initially in Victoria House, Edenderry, and then beside their home on Killycomain Road.

She was a founding member of Levaghery WI and worked as a valuable team member in many charities in the town. However, her strongest commitment to charitable work was to the local MS Society. In 1997 she was proud to receive a Mayoral Award in recognition of outstanding community service.

Her greatest involvement, however, was to the church life at Edenderry Memorial Methodist, where she and husband, Jim, were enthusiastic supporters in all aspects of church activities.

She will be sadly missed, not only by her family but by her many friends. She was pre-deceased by her first grandson, James, husband Jim and daughter-in-law Trish.

The service of thanksgiving was conducted by Rev Aian Ferguson, minister of Edenderry, who paid the main tribute to the life and commitment of the deceased. Mrs Myrtle Wright, Circuit Steward, paid her own personal tribute.