Anna Brolly: Former Armagh mayor shared her talents with all
ANNA Brolly was a woman of many talents, which she gladly shared with family, her many friends and the people of her beloved Armagh.
She was a skilled dressmaker, a marvellous cook, she painted, kept an immaculate garden, and was a devoted mother and grandmother.
As a long-serving SDLP councillor she also dedicated herself to helping others and was an inspiration for people to improve their own lives.
Anna was a daughter of Italian immigrants Carmella and Antonio Forte, who came to Armagh in the 1930s and established a popular little restaurant in English Street.
Her father had fled fascism in his homeland and Anna inherited his strong sense of social justice.
She grew up working in the family business and eventually took over from her mother, revamping it in the 1970s and renaming it The Copperfield.
Generations of people in Armagh have fond memories of its fish and chips and the warm hospitality of Anna and her family.
She met her Derry-born husband Paddy, a talented operatic singer, at a concert in Dungannon and so smitten was he that he returned from working in South Africa to be with her. They married and settled on the Moy Road and later Monaghan Road and were blessed with four daughters and a son.
Involved with the SDLP from its formation, Paddy and Anna were good friends with Newry and Armagh MP Seamus Mallon and a year after her husband's premature death in 1988, Anna was persuaded to join Armagh City and District Council.
She believed passionately in respecting everyone's point of view and defending the rights of all in the community.
Elected mayor in her final year on council in 2002, a particularly proud moment was hosting a civil reception for the All-Ireland winning Armagh football squad.
At her Requiem Mass at St Malachy's Church, Fr Peter McAnenly also told of her dedication to her parish, lovingly preparing the altar each week and always helping out with meetings and functions in the old parochial hall.
She was also a loyal friend of the Servite Fathers in Benburb.
"We give thanks for the great friend that Anna was to so many people," Fr McAnenly said.
"We give thanks for her life of deep faith and she was a woman who lived out that faith in the most real and the most practical of ways.
"We give thanks for her goodness and love and the wonderful generosity of her life."
Anna Brolly died aged 93 on July 22 and is sadly missed by her children Thecla, Gemma, Paul, Ursula and Caroline, brother Romeo and family circle.
Her month's mind Mass will be celebrated at St Malachy's Church on Friday August 23 at 7.30pm.