MEMBERS of Banbridge Arthritis Care were greatly saddened recently when they heard of the death of Dr Helen Knight, late of Rosebank, Newry Road, Banbridge, a founding member of the branch.
Dr Knight remained a stalwart member of the branch for many years and, a member said, was one of the reasons they have gone from strength to strength.
She was elected as the first chairperson at the inaugural meeting on Monday 24 April 1990, a post which she held until 1997 when she reluctantly resigned as she felt that at her age it was time to ease up and let someone else take over the reins.
She did not resign from the group however and still attended as often as possible with her husband, Erwin.
Dr Knight worked hard in her years as chairperson and was extremely well thought of by all the members. Group member, Shirley Quinn, paid a fitting tribute to Dr Knight.
“I found that with her as chairperson, my work as secretary was very easy,” said Ms Quinn.
“She was so helpful in every way and put her all into anything we were arranging for the group. She was a popular figure at the annual conference and was not afraid to question anything with which she did not agree.
“Each summer she held an open day in her garden for all members of the group and if you knew her you will realise her garden was certainly worth seeing! At this time the work in the garden was undertaken by her husband, Erwin and herself.
“As it was a large garden this was no easy task but it always looked perfect, with not a blade of grass out of place. One would almost have believed they had been down on their knees with a pair of scissors, so smooth was the grass and not one blade out of place! Not only did we have the freedom to view all sections of the garden with it’s many beautiful flowers and plants but we were also provided with tea, coffee and lots of dainty eats.
“This was no mean feat as sometimes there would have been 30-40 members present. We made many offers to help with catering and washing up but each year all offers were refused as Dr Knight always said it was our day to enjoy, not to work.
“She also kindly allowed us to hold our committee meetings in her home each month and these were very friendly and happy occasions. Erwin always seemed to know exactly when we had finished the business part of the meeting and appeared at the appropriate time with the welcome tea trolley!
“Our 20th anniversary celebrations occurred last year but due to ill health Dr Knight was unable to attend. We later presented her with an arrangement of flowers as a mark of appreciation of all the hard work she had put into our organisation in the past.
“I can honestly say Banbridge Arthritis Care would not be the strong organisation it is today without all the hard work put into it in the early days by Dr Knight. She was unable to attend the monthly meetings in the last few years but still kept up a real interest in the group. I am sure a lot of Arthritis Care members have their own fond memories of Dr Knight. I would just like to finish by saying what a great help she was to me personally, not only in the group, but in many other ways and she will not be forgotten.”