This is a note I put on Facebook before but want to keep. Please ignore if you’v read it before!
Sorry if this is morbid, but I love it, and hope that it gives you a positive reflection of who my Mum was, in spite of all the illness which had recently dominated her life.
Thanks for reading…
ALISON VALERIE McELWAINE (nee PRITCHARD)
Alison was born in Belfast in 1949, the younger daughter of Rev. & Mrs. Pritchard. She was educated at Methodist College, Belfast, following which she underwent training at Queen’s University, Belfast as a medical doctor, qualifying in 1973. Whilst there, she met her husband-to-be Graham and was married by her father in his then church in Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal in 1971.
They set up home in Belfast, where Alison subsequently worked as a specialist dermatologist in the Belfast City, Ulster, Lagan Valley and Musgrave Park Hospitals. In her chosen profession she was always a favourite with the patients, renowned for her thoroughness, caring nature and sympathetic manner, perhaps arising out of her own skin problems whilst a child.
During this period, their daughter Suzy and sons Martin and Brian were born, and her family were always a joy to her, and at the centre of her thoughts. The recent arrivals of two grand-children, Ricky and Robbie, were particularly special to her.
Outside of her family life, Alison had a number of abiding passions. Her childhood ambition to have her own Connemara pony was realised in 1986, when she got her pride and joy “Song of Morning”, and this led to a series of equine pursuits for both she and Suzy, including a personal interest in long-distance riding, at which she and the pony excelled.
Her expertise as a plants-woman shone out, knowing most of her garden plants by their latin name. Following the move to Downpatrick in 1999 to the house on the River Quoile which she adored instantly on sight, she soon set about matching plants to places. This interest extended into her love of all things in the natural environment, where she had a particular keenness for the identification of wild orchids.
She was a voracious reader, which was a great comfort for her as she gradually descended into ill-health. Loss of mobility, and increasingly frequent visits to doctors and hospitals in the last five years, as both out- and in-patient, proved very difficult for her, yet she bore it all with great strength of mind.
Alison will be sadly missed by her family and wide circle of close friends. She is survived by her husband, daughter, sons and grand-sons, and her sister Rosalind.