The ‘Queen of Kelly Re­cov­ery’ lived a life of fun and laugh­ter

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

BRAY and Kil­macanogue said a sad farewell to a won­der­ful woman last week, with the death of Brid­get Kelly (née Fox), at the age of 93.

Brid­get, who passed away peace­fully at home, had a full and fun-filled life, lived with great en­ergy, kind­ness and hu­mour, and will not least be re­mem­bered for her an­nual brac­ing dip on the first day of the year for the Li­ons Club’s Bray Char­i­ties Sea Swim.

She was a part of the fundrais­ing event ev­ery year from its found­ing in 1982, up un­til just a few years ago.

A na­tive of Bray, Brid­get was one of the founders of Kelly Re­cov­ery in Kil­macanogue.

She was born on Ardee Street, be­fore mov­ing to Dar­gan Street with her par­ents and sib­lings. She and her late hus­band Anthony (Tony) set­tled on Dar­gan Street, where they raised their two daugh­ters and three sons.

She and Tony met when they were both cam­paign­ing for Fianna Fáil. They got mar­ried in St Peter’s Church, with a re­cep­tion in the Fox’s Dar­gan Street home, be­fore the cou­ple went on hon­ey­moon to Scot­land.

Brid­get was a cham­pion swim­mer and life-long mem­ber of Bray Swim­ming Club. She twice won the Frame Me­mo­rial Cup for the 950-me­tre har­bour race.

She also won the Walsh cup for all the clubs of Ire­land at about the same dis­tance.

Brid­get was renowned for the en­ter­tain­ing cos­tumes she wore to the char­ity swim in Bray each New Year’s Day. On one oc­ca­sion, Brid­get and her late brother Sean dressed up as Mrs Doyle and Fa­ther Jack. She was the priest and he was the house­keeper! She raised a huge amount of money for char­ity dur­ing her years do­ing the New Year’s Day swim. She also went swim­ming in the sea each day af­ter Mass all year round.

She was very ac­tive in the Red Cross and was on the win­ning team of the Pres­i­dent’s Tro­phy in 1970. Hers was the first Wick­low team to win the All-Ire­land com­pe­ti­tion.

Mrs Kelly was a long-stand­ing mem­ber and chair­per­son of Bray Mu­si­cal So­ci­ety. Some of her favourite mu­si­cals were ‘The Bo­hemian Girl’ and ‘Where the Lark Sings’.

She won Tesco Mother of the Year nine years ago, col­lect­ing a year’s free shop­ping in Tesco, as well as the well-de­served ti­tle.

With no end to her tal­ents, she was in The Star Ceili band with her brother Sean and a few oth­ers. She sang, danced and played the fid­dle.

Speak­ing to the Bray Peo­ple just af­ter her 90th birth­day, Mrs Kelly had some words of wis­dom to share: ‘You might as well en­joy life when you’re in it, you might be gone to­mor­row. I’ve had a good life and a good fam­ily and that’s all any­one wants.

‘Life is as it comes. I en­joy life and have plenty of laughs. If you can’t have a laugh, you’ve noth­ing.’

Brid­get is sur­vived by her lov­ing daugh­ters Eilís and Una, sons Ea­mon and Kevin, sis­ter Betty and brother Wil­lie, her chil­dren-in-law, grand­chil­dren, great-grand­chil­dren, and mem­bers of her ex­tended fam­ily, neigh­bours and friends. Mrs Kelly was pre-de­ceased by her hus­band Anthony and son Liam.

Her fam­ily mem­bers are eter­nally grate­ful to a team of car­ers, in­clud­ing Brid­get’s daugh­ter Una, who made it pos­si­ble for her to re­main at home. Her neigh­bours were also a great sup­port, in­clud­ing Sheila Dou­glas and Ger­ard Clarke. Her fam­ily are also very grate­ful for the care of Dr John McManus.

Her funeral took place last Satur­day at the Holy Redeemer be­fore burial at St Peter’s Ceme­tery.

Ac­cord­ing to her wishes, Mrs Kelly was brought to the church and ceme­tery on the Kelly Re­cov­ery truck, rem­i­nis­cent of the funeral of her late son, Liam, who died in 2014. When Liam founded the busi­ness in 1972 with one truck, the ‘of­fice’ was Brid­get’s kitchen, where she took the calls.

A large crowd at­tended the funeral to pay their re­spects to the fam­ily, and re­mem­ber a leg­end of north County Wick­low.

The late Brid­get Kelly.

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