'She touched all our lives'

TRIBUTES have been paid to Whiteabbey woman Constance 'Connie' Buckley, who passed away at her King's Gardens home on Monday, January 17.

Connie was a tireless charity worker, supporting the Northern Ireland Hospice, Cancer Research and Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary.

The only child of Jimmy and Molly Watson, Connie was born in 1933 in Belfast.

After an unsuccessful marriage, Connie found love with George Buckley who doted on her and looked to spoil her every chance he got.

Connie spent most of her working life in the wages' office of the Ulster Polytechnic at Jordanstown where she loved working until her retirement.

George passed away almost 10 years ago and Connie died just before what would have been their 24th wedding anniversary.

Connie was a great collector of 'pruck' and at times her house was so full of it that finding a seat or somewhere to walk proved difficult, much to George's despair.

She sold the 'pruck' to raise money for the Northern Ireland Hospice and many a night her home was filled to capacity with ladies shouting back "How much Connie .....50p ..... yes I'll take it."

Over the years through many different outlets she raised thousands of pounds for good causes, mainly for the Hospice, but also Cancer Research and more recently the Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary. She loved animals and always kept a pet dog or a cat.

"Connie was one of life's real ladies. She was a great supporter of the sanctuary over the years and she will be very sadly missed," said Carmel Walsh from Crosskennan.

Connie will be remembered for her generous nature and as a great adviser, confidante and friend, who never had a bad word to say about anyone.

Her niece, Evelyn, paid tribute to Connie, saying: "There never has been anyone like Connie and there never will be again. She touched and illuminated all our lives, what a character, what a great lady."

A spokeswoman for the Hospice added: "Connie was a tireless supporter of the Hospice since she started fundraising for us in the 1980s.

"She had a warm and bubbly personality and will be sadly missed. She was an amazing charity champion."

A large crowd of family and friends gathered at Abbots Cross Presbyterian Church on Thursday (January 20) for a service of thanksgiving for Connie's life. She was laid to rest in Carnmoney Cemetery.