Life

Marie Louise McConville: Mother of Joleen Corr is an inspiration

Carol Corr places a hand on her daughter Joleen's coffin during the 27-year-old's funeral in west Belfast. Photo by Matt Bohill

There's no doubt about it, life can be a difficult business.

One day we find ourselves on top of the world, the next, we're in our darkest hour and only the love and support of others can get us through.

Having been a journalist for 16 years, I've seen the best and worst of life but it was a story which came my way 16 months ago that will live with me forever.

A young, loving mother-of-one starting a new life in a new town, left with irreparable brain damage following an alleged assault.

Hospitalised for the next 16 months, never regaining consciousness and in a vegetative state, the 27-year-old's bright future with her young child, cruelly stolen from her.

Her heartbroken mother Carol immediately drew all the strength she could to care for her child.

I don't know how this wonderful woman did it but every day in hospital she was at her daughter's bedside, holding her hand and sometimes singing to her.

The mother-of-five spent her days caring for Joleen, dressing her in pretty Disney pyjamas, brushing and braiding her hair and holding her close.

She enveloped the young woman with a deep love and support, refusing to leave her bedside.

Last month, doctors revealed nothing more could be done for Joleen and the decision was taken to withdraw the treatment keeping her alive.

The beautician passed away in the Northern Ireland Hospice on April 26, taking her final breaths in the arms of her devoted mother.

This week, Carol carried her daughter's white coffin into St Paul's Church in Belfast for her funeral.

Afterwards she walked with her to the City Cemetery for burial, while all the time still supporting her other devastated children.

I don't think I have ever met someone like Carol Corr.

Her strength over this past year and more has known no limits.

When she should have been falling to her knees, broken by the nightmare that had befallen her family, she was front and centre, supporting and protecting Joleen while still carrying the rest of her family.

To me, Carol is an inspiration who has shown us the true meaning of family.

Now that Joleen has been laid to rest, there's no doubt she will help carry Carol through the difficult times to come.

The west Belfast community will also unite to help this heartbroken mother through those times - it's the least she deserves.

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He's back.....so he is.

At last, soap land bosses have given us some good news, that the wonderful Charles Lawson is to return to the famous cobbles as hard-as-nails Irishman Jim McDonald.

Coronation Street has this week teased the great character's return which has been described as `explosive'.

Currently in prison for the armed robbery of a building society, the last time we saw `Big Jim' was in 2014 when he sold Peter Barlow alcohol in prison.

Now we can look forward to welcoming the larger-than-life character and his loud ways back to the cobbles in the coming months.

Great news - so it is.

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Competition

With Summer on the horizon, it's time to get in the holiday mood – so how do you fancy winning a "clever and intriguing tale" to help you unwind?

The Liar's Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard has been described as "absolutely fantastic" and a "stand-out read".

Dublin's notorious Canal Killer, Will Hurley, is ten years into his life sentence when the body of a young woman is fished out of the Grand Canal.

Though detectives suspect they are dealing with a copycat, they turn to Will for help.

He claims he has the information the police need, but will only give it to one person - the girl he was dating when he committed his horrific crimes.

Alison Smith has spent the last decade abroad, putting her shattered life in Ireland far behind her.

But when she gets a request from Dublin imploring her to help prevent another senseless murder, she is pulled back to face the past - and the man - she's worked so hard to forget.

I have five copies of The Liar's Girl to give away.

If you fancy winning a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to competitions@irishnews.com

Closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

(Q) Who wrote The Liar's Girl?

Normal Irish News Rules Apply

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The winners of The Dark Lake competition are Terri Sheppard from Antrim, Ann Marie McGarry from Crumlin, Brigidin O'Neill from Belfast, Helen Quinn from Magherafelt and Jean Sansome from Belfast.

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