Northern Ireland news

Poignant tribute to murdered solicitor Rosemary Nelson by her children

Solicitor Rosemary Nelson (40) was killed in a loyalist car bomb in March 1999. Picture by Matthew Fearn/PA Wire

THE children of murdered lawyer Rosemary Nelson have paid an emotional tribute to her on the 20th anniversary of her death.

Her two eldest children, Christopher (13) and Gavin (11), were away on a school trip in France and the youngest, Sarah (8), was at school when the booby-trap car bomb exploded outside their Lurgan home.

In a touching memorial in The Irish News, they paid tribute to Mrs Nelson (40) as a prominent human rights lawyer but said it was "her multi-layered nature which is most worthy of honour today".

"In the minds of the many who encountered Rosemary during the early days, it's a tale of resilience which resonates," they wrote.

"Even in her younger years she noted that the odds were stacked but that didn't stop her from hurtling towards opportunities and dismantling the obstacles anyway - for herself and others too.

"For those who witnessed Rosemary in a professional setting, it was her steely faith which drew attention - that unfaltering conviction which commanded her working days.

"She instilled belief in her clients and they, in turn, placed their confidence in her."

Her children went on to describe "the power of her compassion".

"The four walls of the Lurgan office transformed into a confidential haven whereupon sadness was shielded; fears unleashed; and faith restored."

They also reveal how "she was so, so much more" to those closest to her and "lucky enough to occupy that special, padlocked component of her heart".

"She sprinkled her laughter and zest for life passion upon any occasion, and set more than one meal alight during her cooking forays.

"Though Rosemary's driving was impressive, her sense of direction left a lot to be desired and the sounds of the Lighthouse Family and Mary Black were the backdrop of choice to any long journey.

"She loved her family and friends fiercely and through her parents, siblings, husband and children, her greatest fuel was forged.

"And as the darkness of each night reared, Rosemary gathered her children before her as she wiped off her make-up; chatting, laughing and ensuring that a reaffirmation of love lulled them off to a peaceful sleep.

"... We grieve for the milestones which we should have shared; the lessons which we were yet to learn; the unwritten chapters which lay before us with hope and expectation.

"But we're most grateful for the blessings which Rosemary's lifetime brought us. And as we continue to pave our own paths, we will always take fuel from her, just as she did from us.

"Thank you, mum, We miss you."

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