The charitable work of Bridie McGoldrick continues to set her apart as an example to us all.
In 1996 Bridie’s son Michael was murdered by loyalists at the height of the Drumcree stand-off and in 2006 her husband Michael Snr died while in Moldova carrying out relief work for United Christian Aid.
Throughout her life Bridie has stood by the Christian principles of peace, love and forgiveness.
Since the loss of her husband she has poured her heart and soul into the charitable organisation he established, devoting her life to helping people in Europe’s poorest country.
In the last four years, Bridie has been looking after United Christian Aid charity shop in Hill Street, a warehouse without heat, where some of the most charitable work in the town takes place.
Bridie and her team of volunteers prepare relief packages to be sent out to Moldova as well as generating sales from items which can be put towards the former use.
Displaying one of the items in the shop, a child’s toy doll dressed in tiny knitted clothing which will go to premature babies, Bridie said: “I’ve come through horrendous things and I’ve been blessed by the people I meet. People are so, so good.
“The stuff we have in here comes from all over Ireland. There’s a lot of brand new stuff in amongst it.
“There’s a guy who gave us nine tonnes of rice and pasta. We also get beds and furniture - they’re not for shipping out obviously, but the charity can put to use the money we get from sales of beds, sofas and the like.
“They come to us in such good condition, sometimes I wonder why people get rid of them. But their loss is someone else’s gain.”
Bridie explained that everybody involved in United Christian Aid is voluntary.
She said: “Tom Lennon will be heading out again in eight weeks with more stuff. He’s only just back.
“Even the driver who drives the 40-foot container is a volunteer.”
Bridie said: “There’s heartwarming stories you hear. Like Elena who is 84 years of age and almost blind.
“When they gave her butter she cried her eyes out. She hadn’t tasted butter in over 40 years.”
Of the premises in Hill Street, Bridie said: “We’ve no heating but it doesn’t annoy me.
“When it’s really cold I used to bring in a hot water bottle. I would strap it to my back and I thought I was being really clever but then it burst when I turned round. Such a scald I got.
“I find if you keep busy you don’t feel the cold.
“When I get home I can get something to eat and a hot shower.
“The poor people that we’re set up to help can’t. They don’t have a chance. It’s worth everything we do for them.”
United Christian Aid’s most recent collection in Lurgan on Christmas Eve raised £6,912.