Bridie Scullin: Selfless volunteer at heart of Co Antrim GAA community
THE GAA is at the heart of the community in most rural areas and within every GAA community you will find someone like Bridie Scullin: a hard-working volunteer who devoted more time to her club than anyone will ever know, a mammy who ferried her kids to every corner of the country to play Gaelic games, and a true lady who is sorely missed by her friends and the members of St Ergnats GAC, Moneyglass.
Bridie was the fifth of seven children born to Annie and Jim-Joe Fitzgerald of Brocagh, Co Tyrone.
Although quiet in nature, she was a character that you could always depend on for guidance and help, a trait which she obviously had from an early age being head girl of St Joseph's College, Coalisland.
She studied A-levels in St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon before heading off to the University of Ulster in Coleraine to do a degree in Housing Studies.
This led her on a career path in the Housing Executive where she worked in Belfast for a number of years before moving closer to home to take on a senior position in Antrim.
She took a career break in 2006 when her fifth child was born.
Bridie first met her husband Colm at a disco in the Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown and moved to Co Antrim to set up home in Ballyscullion.
This, however, didn't stop her being true to her native Co Tyrone and she would beam with pride when the Red Hands were doing well in the All-Ireland championship.
Bridie was a dedicated family woman with five sisters and one brother and she and Colm had five children of their own - three girls and two boys.
She was talented and could turn her hand to most instruments, playing the accordion and tin whistle in her earlier years.
She also enjoyed flower arranging and made arrangements for the chapel at Christmas time. She had a strong faith and 20 years ago was introduced to a Malawian priest Fr Ignatius Gazni whom she shared a great friendship with.
Bridie was selfless - anything that could be was sent to Malawi, and her own birthday money was often spent on resources for kids in Fr Ignatius's care.
It was fitting that he was there to comfort and support her in her final days.
Bridie's biggest interest was definitely St Ergnats GAC with all of her children involved at different age levels and codes.
She herself served as club secretary for eight years and worked on the development committee for many more. She was involved in the 'mothers and others group' where she enjoyed laughter and friendship whilst working for the betterment of the club.
She and a few others on the development committee were also at the heart of the procurement of our new club grounds, a legacy which will last forever and a reminder of the dedication of a true club woman who was taken too soon.
Bridie passed away on July 28 and was buried a day after what would have been her 54th birthday, the huge attendance at her wake and funeral a testament to the lady that she was.
Her friends in the mothers and others are holding a Christmas Fayre in her memory today at Moneyglass club grounds from 4pm-9pm. All proceeds will go towards Marie Curie and Fr Ignatius Malawi Aid.
Bridie is sorely missed by her husband Colm and children Aine, Orlaith, Diarmuid, Ciara and Colm Óg.