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Margaret Patterson: Dress designer who dedicated her life to youth work

 

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Artistic flair: Meta Patterson

Tributes have been paid to a Lisburn grandmother who devoted her life to youth work.

Margaret Patterson (92), known as Meta, had been a member of Railway Street Presbyterian Church for around 70 years.

Along with her late husband Harold, co-director of the Smyth Patterson homeware store in Lisburn, she helped to run the Y youth club on Wallace Avenue for many years.

After passing away peacefully in hospital on August 16, a service of thanksgiving was held in Railway Street Presbyterian on Monday, August 20.

The Rev Brian Gibson, who had known Mrs Patterson for 20 years, gave the funeral address.

"She was a very caring person, a lady with strong convictions," he said.

"People often said she was the driving force behind her husband Harold.

"Both of them really gave themselves to reaching out to young people.

"At the Y Club hundreds of young people were taken off the streets to enjoy evening activities and in the summer they took them camping as well.

"She related very well to the young people, very good at keeping them in line and in order."

It was also noted the Y Club was where many found not only religion, but future spouses.

Rev Gibson said Mrs Patterson never recovered from the sudden death of her son Trevor in October last year.

"Her son's death was a huge blow to her," he said.

"He was an Anglican minister in Richmond and had been out for a run when he collapsed with a heart attack."

Mrs Patterson is survived by her other children Smyth and Hazel, as well as her five grandchildren.

Born to Quaker parents in Lurgan on June 1926, she moved to Dublin aged eight.

She suffered early on from a serious lung condition, but her health rapidly improved with the invention of antibiotics in the 1940s.

Despite missing out on much of her early education she was later able to study design at Dublin's Grafton Academy before entering her father's business as a dress designer.

Her skills were invaluable when fabric was in short supply in the late post-war 1940s, showing an impressive artistic flair in the factory and throughout her life with her own stylish dress-wear.

Meeting her lifelong partner Harold through mutual friends in 1955, they married in 1957 and moved to live in Duneight, near Lisburn.

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Artistic flair: Meta Patterson