The community of Banbridge and far beyond was greatly saddened to hear of the death of Margaret Breen on Thursday, January 22, at Iveagh Nursing Home.
Margaret was the dearly loved wife of the late Charles Winston Breen, and beloved mother of Jonathan and Susan.
She is also survived by loving sisters Catherine and Aedin, brothers Patrick and William, and granddaughters Rebecca and Emma, to whom she was devoted.
Born in Dublin into a family of five siblings, Margaret met Winston in 1963 when he was an undergraduate at Trinity College in Dublin.
They married in July 1967 and moved to Belfast, where Margaret worked for the Royal Insurance Company (now Royal Sun Alliance), while Winston became a history teacher at Belfast Royal Academy.
After having Jonathan in 1970, and Susan in 1972, Margaret left her job to become a full-time mother. She was also a very active parishioner of St. Peter’s Church, Antrim Road, Belfast.
In 1984, Margaret and the family moved to Banbridge, when Winston became headmaster of Banbridge Academy. By this time Margaret had returned to part-time work at the Royal Sun Alliance, and she continued in this role for another 11 years until tragically in 1995, after making a huge contribution to the fortunes of Banbridge Academy, Winston lost his life to cancer at the age of 54.
The loss of her beloved husband was an immeasurable blow to Margaret. However, her huge bravery and strength of character were demonstrated at this time by her redoubling of her involvement in the life of Holy Trinity church, of which she was a committed parishioner throughout her 30 years in Banbridge.
As well as being a regular churchgoer, Margaret took up the role of parish secretary, and was an active member of the Mothers’ Union, Ladies’ Guild, Young Wives’ Club, and local organiser of Christian Aid. She was also a parochial nominator. In later years she also became a committed member of the church choir.
After Winston’s death, Margaret also conquered one of her great fears by learning to drive, something which helped her to travel regularly to Dublin to help with the care of her elderly father Cyril, to whom she was absolutely devoted.
Margaret was a great lover of music, and loved playing the piano and singing. She had a very strong lifelong faith, and was devoted to her family, and to her many friends.
The number of lives Margaret touched throughout her 74 years, and the affection so many had for her, were demonstrated by the very large attendance at her funeral on January 25 at Holy Trinity Church.
The service was conducted by Archdeacon Roderic West, and a moving tribute was paid by Archdeacon John Scott, former Rector of the church, who described Margaret as a hero. Along with his wife Laura, John was a great friend to Margaret, and she held him in the highest regard.
Margaret is very deeply missed by all her family, who would like to thank the very many loyal, loving friends who visited and supported Margaret over the past year.
They are also indebted to the staff of Iveagh House for their loving care, the Mandeville Unit at Craigavon Hospital, and Roderic West and all staff of Holy Trinity Church for their prayers and attention.
The interment took place in the New Cemetery. Family flowers were placed on the grave, and donations in lieu of flowers are being sent to William Bell and Co. Funeral Directors, 23 Kenlis Street, Banbridge, BT32 3LR for Christian Aid.
William Bell and Co. had charge of the funeral arrangements.