Further tributes have been paid to Co Armagh cattle-breeder Thelma Gorman, who will be laid to rest on Tuesday after her tragic death in a farming accident on Friday.
It is believed Mrs Gorman died after being struck by a cow.
Amongst those to pay tribute was the former Lord Mayor of Armagh, DUP Alderman Freda Donnelly, who in 2012 presented Mrs Gorman with a ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award.
A highly energetic member of the local community, Mrs Gorman had been active within the Free Presbyterian Church in Armagh. She was also been a key figure in the County Armagh agricultural show, a fundraiser for charity, and someone who had opened her family home to provide respite care for children with learning difficulties.
In 2016 her efforts were rewarded with Farming Life’s ‘unsung hero’ award.
Mrs Donnelly said: “I have known Thelma for many, many years and I have always found her to have been a very warm, friendly person. She always went out of her way to help people. All of the community, everyone who knew her can testify that she really went out of her way, that extra mile. If somebody needed something, she would have been on hand to help them.”
She continued: “She was a great encourager of young people to try and get them in to try and help them understand the basics of breeding and showing. She was just a brilliant, all-round person.”
The former Lord Mayor continued: “People in all walks of life looked up to Thelma. Personally I don’t know how she did so much, but then they do say that if you want something done you should ask a busy person.
“She was involved in flower arranging, she worked in the local florist, she looked after children.
“She also did a lot of work in her own church. We actually go to the same church and she was quite involved behind the scenes.”
Mrs Donnelly said she was delighted to have been able to present Mrs Gorman with the ‘volunteer of the year’ award.
She added: “I knew Thelma went beyond the normal scope of volunteering. She literally opened her heart — and her house — to the community.”
Thelma Gorman will be laid to rest after a funeral service at Armagh Free Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, September 12 at 1.30pm
‘She was a great blessing to us’
Thelma Gorman was described as “a great blessing” to her local congregation by Free Presbyterian minister the Rev David McMillan. Rev McMillan said: “She served the lord faithfully from the day she was saved until the day she died on Friday. She and her husband don’t have any children of their own but in a sense she was a mother to a multitude of children — her nieces and nephews and the children whom she provided that respite care for. She was a very faithful member of our church. She was a great encouragement to everybody. We often wondered where she got the energy from.” Rev McMillan added: “She was a great blessing to us. She was ready for eternity, she had experienced God’s salvation and she is in heaven today and that gives us great comfort, even though we have lost a very dear friend.”