Northern Ireland

Violet Crumlish: Funeral held for Lurgan's 'Queen of the travellers'

Mother-of-13 Violet Crumlish, 59, died at the weekend after a long battle with cancer Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Mother-of-13 Violet Crumlish, 59, died at the weekend after a long battle with cancer

Hundreds of mourners have gathered to pay fond tribute to a woman dubbed "the Queen of the Travellers".

Mother-of-13 Violet Crumlish, 59, died at the weekend after a long battle with cancer.

A white carriage drawn by four white horses led the cortege to St Peter's church in Lurgan, Co Armagh.

Two flatbed lorries were required to carry the huge number of wreaths and flowers for the hugely popular member of the travelling community.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Lorries were required to carry the huge number of wreaths and flowers for the popular member of the travelling community

Among the scores of colourful floral tributes were ones in the shape of a Chanel handbag, a caravan, a bingo board, an iPhone, a stick of lipstick, a cigarette and bottles of wine.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Some of the colourful floral tributes laid on her grave included one in the shape of a Chanel handbag and an iPhone
Image caption Mourners threw yellow roses into Violet Crumlish's grave

A number of life-sized photos of the grandmother - as well as portraits of her extended family - were also displayed inside the church and at the graveside.

Mrs Crumlish lived in the Bristol area, but had returned to her homeland in Northern Ireland as her death drew nearer.

Image caption A white carriage drawn by four white horses led the cortege for to St Peter's church in Lurgan

During the requiem Mass, Parish Priest Fr Joseph Wozniak described her as a "very gentle and kind person".

"She never criticised anybody and was fondly described by family members as the Traveller Queen," he said.

The cleric added that she was "a brilliant mother and grandmother... like a mother to many in the travelling community".

Image caption Parish Priest Fr Joseph Wozniak described Violet as a "very gentle and kind person"

Mrs Crumlish's husband Owen rode on the horse-drawn carriage as the cortege made its way from the church to the graveyard.

Parts of Lurgan town centre were closed to traffic to allow the funeral procession to pass through.

Image caption A young relative carries a tribute

At the graveyard, a number of doves were released into the air as Mrs Crumlish's white coffin was lowered into the ground.

Family and friends dropped yellow roses onto the coffin lid while singing songs, including the Whitney Houston classic, I will Always You Love You.

In August, thousands of travellers travelled to Bristol from across Europe to pay respects to Mrs Crumlish during the final stages of her illness.

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