Community devastated after popular Dromore charity worker dies on holiday

Glowing tributes have been paid to a Dromore woman who died suddenly while on holiday off the coast of west Africa.

Tuesday, 11th March 2014, 11:34 am

Mary Verhoeven from Dromore died on Friday while on holiday with her husband Marc, on Cape Verde.

Many tributes have been paid to the popular charity worker.

Gail Redmond, of Dromore Christian community charity Via Wings, described Mary as “our great friend, board member and strong supporter” and told supporters that she had died following “a tragic accident”.

She added: “We are devastated at the loss of such a great woman of Faith and true servant of God, and she will be missed tremendously by the entire community and beyond. She was an inspiration to everyone she met and touched the lives of many through Via Wings and further afield.

“She made such a positive impact on those she touched and she made a real difference.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary’s family at this time and particularly with the immediate family circle: husband Marc, daughter Marianne and son Peter.”

She added: “We are so thankful for the honour of knowing her. Losing her is almost too painful to bear, but we know that God will carry us through on wings like eagles.”

Supporters on Facebook described Mary as “a wonderful lady” and “an amazing woman”.

Mary was also much involved in St Colman’s Catholic Church in Dromore and the town’s branch of the Order of Malta.

The order said they had learned of the death of their “wonderful supporter” who was wife of order volunteer Marc.

“Mary was a true friend of the Dromore unit and many other voluntary, church and community organisations in the area,” the order said.

“Mary was an example of Christian service, love and respect and touched the lives of all who were fortunate to have met her.

“We send our love and prayers to Mary’s husband Marc and their children and to the wider Bradley and Verhoeven families.”

One supporter said: “My dear Mary ...even your eyes smiled. Such an honour to be your friend.”

Another said: “Christian service, love and respect personified. Her presence always lifted me.”

Olive Mercer, a councillor in Dromore and chair of Banbridge District Council, passed her sympathies to the Verhoeven family circle on behalf of the council and district.

“I had met Mary on a number of occasions through Via Wings and Banbridge Twinning Association,” she said.

The councillor had travelled to France on a number of occasions as part of a group with Mary and her husband Marc.

“Mary was very genuine; a lovely lady who spent a lot of her time doing good for others and doing a lot of charitable works,” she added.

“She was also very involved with her church St Colman’s and the Order Of Malta.”

Mary’s son Peter also paid tribute to his mother on Facebook, saying “she would have done for anyone no matter what race or religion”.

They had lost “this great lady to a tragic accident” he said. “We will always love you mummy,” he added.