‘Princess Diana’ of Travellers being laid to rest

St Peter's Chapel, North Street. INLM2611-507gc
St Peter's Chapel, North Street. INLM2611-507gc

The funeral is underway of a woman described as the ‘Princess Diana of Travellers’.

Hundreds of people from the travelling community are expected to gather in Lurgan this morning (Thursday, September 29) to say their goodbyes to Violet Crumlish - with police warning of traffic disruption.

The 59-year-old mother of 11, died at the Northern Ireland Hospice in Belfast on Saturday after suffering from bowel cancer.

She made headlines during the summer when thousands from across Europe flocked to Bristol to pay their respects while she was being treated in hospital there.

A white horse-drawn hearse will carry Ms Crumlish’s coffin to St Peter’s Church in Lurgan for noon Requiem Mass.

Ten black limousines are being organised for the cortege. Red carpet will be laid and white doves released at the graveside at St Colman’s cemetery for her burial.

Family members described Ms Crumlish as a “real lady and a very religious person” who had visited Lourdes and Knock.

Caravans and cars with Belgian, Swiss and Slovenian number plates all visited Bristol in August, as well as British and Irish residents.

Ms Crumlish’s son Alex said the community had made the journey because his mother was so highly respected in Travelling circles.

He told the Bristol Post at the time: “She is a queen and a princess, she is like Lady Diana to the Travellers.

“She is good to the poor and the sick - she is highly respected.

“She is like a mother to many in the Travelling community, which is why thousands are coming to see her.

“She is a lovely woman through and through and we are very proud that so many people are coming to see her.”

Ms Crumlish recently triggered a review of a council’s housing register rules after being told she and her partner could not apply for a place on an official Travellers’ site.

North Somerset Council confirmed the couple made the request around a year ago, saying they were homeless, and were rejected for not having a strong enough local connection.

A High Court challenge was launched against the decision but the case was settled before going to court when the couple were put on the register.

This morning Lurgan police warned of traffic disruption as a result of the large funeral.

Motorists are asked to avoid the area between 11am and 2pm and if you have to travel through this area during these times you should expect delays. Mourners are asked to avail of nearby car parks and avoid parking in North Street and neighbouring streets.