Tributes have been paid to former UUP Mayor of Larne Joan Drummond MBE, who passed away at the age of 77 on September 10.
Mrs Drummond served on Larne Borough Council from 1989 to 2005, and was awarded an MBE in 2000.
East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Beggs Jnr described Mrs Drummond as a “wise and calming influence” in local politics.
He stated: “It is with great sadness, that I have learned that Joan Drummond MBE has passed away.
“She was a wise and calming influence in local government in Larne for many years.
“Her approach to politics was based on service to the community and trying to help the most vulnerable.
“She lived and worked in the heart of Craigyhill, and all her voluntary work associated with the Linn Community Centre revolved around helping and improving her local neighbourhood.
“I know she was held in very high regard right across the community, and I like many others will miss her common sense advice and cheery manner.
“She and her late husband Sammy were totally devoted to each other, and I send my condolences to their son, daughter and grandchildren, and the wider family circle,” Mr Beggs concluded.
Local UUP Councillors on Mid and East Antrim Borough Council also paid tribute to Mrs Drummond.
Alderman Maureen Morrow, who represents Mrs Drummond’s former district electoral area of the Coast Road, said: “Joan was a delightful lady.
“She served on the Council during the difficult days of the Troubles, and everyone speaks well of her work during her years in local politics.
“She had been unwell recently but always had a smile for you, no matter how ill she was.
“My sympathy goes to the family circle at this sad time.”
Councillor Andy Wilson, who served alongside Joan between November 2004 and May 2005, added: “I remember Joan was an oasis of calm when I went onto Larne Council as a young councillor.
“Amongst a group of fairly volatile male councillors, she like Cllr Rachel Rea, was a voice of common sense and reasonableness.
“She was an excellent representative for all the community, particularly in Craigyhill, and the award of the Mayorship and then an MBE were just rewards for her years of public service.
“Joan and her late husband Sammy were quite a team, inseparable at public events for many years, and she will be greatly missed, particular by her family to whom I send sincere condolences.”
Councillor Mark McKinty commented: “Although I never served on the Council with Joan, she was always an endearing and warm-hearted individual with Larne’s best interests at heart.
“She would always have time to chat to those in her company.
“My prayers are with her family and friends at this time.”
At Mrs Drummond’s funeral service, which took place in First Larne Presbyterian Church on Saturday September 12, the Rev Colin McClure paid tribute to her “deep service ethos ingrained in heart and soul.”
In addition to her work on the council, Mrs Drummond was a member of Lynn Social Club from 1963 until 2004 and was also Chair of Craigyhill’s Good Neighbours Club.
In addition, she championed the Meals on Wheels service for the elderly and housebound, and was given the Mayor’s Award in recognition of her community advocacy and service.
Mrs Drummond was invested with her MBE by Prince Charles at a ceremony in 2001.
Originally from Whitehead, Mrs Drummond was born Joan Mary Isobel McCleary on November 6 1937, the second of five children.
She married her husband Sammy in Whitehead Congregational Church on March 30 1961 and they had two children, Joanne and Samuel.
The family later moved to Ballycraigy Ring and finally settled at a house in Garron Crescent, where Sammy passed away on January 15 2009.
Describing Mrs Drummond during the eulogy, the Rev McClure stated: “her heart, which embraced so many in this community, was at its most content when she was enjoying the progress and achievements of her family.”
Mrs Drummond is survived by her children, Joanne and Sammy, and her grandchildren Emma, Rachael, Holly and Sam.