‘The Rock of the family’ - emotional tributes have been paid to Cindy Greer, who died suddenly in a car crash last Thursday near her home in Gilford.
A mother and grandmother, Cindy, who was just 58, has been described as an ‘inspirational’ figure both to her family, friends and those she mentored.
Her son Aaron Greer (31) said: “My mum was the rock of the family. We all depended on her.
“I think we all feel a bit lost right now. To have the person you have always depended upon taken away from you so suddenly, it is difficult to deal with.
“She was the most amazing, inspirational person in my life. It is so hard to put into words what she meant to us.
“This was always a happy house. I have such good memories because of mum. She brought all of us together. She has two grandchildren and loved them to pieces. The family was mum’s big love. Any excuse for a family gathering to bring us all together. Christmas dinner was always here with everyone around the table.”
Her mum Joan Newell is simply heartbroken. She said she couldn’t imagine never seeing her eldest daughter Cindy again. “I just love her so much. She was always there for me and did whatever she could to make my life better.
“She was such a rock in this family. She phoned me last Wednesday after she had been talking to Alan. I asked her if we would see her that night but she had a client coming and she would see me on Thursday afternoon. That was the last we spoke.
“I was at a meeting in church on Wednesday night and a couple of people came in late and said there had been a terrible accident. I said ‘God help whoever it is’. Little did I know it was Cindy. I couldn’t take it in when I heard the news.”
Her partner of 12 years Alan McIvor said she was coming from work last Wednesday and phoned him on her hands-free around 5pm to say she was leaving. “She asked how my day was and she was her usual cheery self.
“She said to put the tea on, and I reckoned she would be home about 5.40pm. Sadly she didn’t make it.”
Her red Honda Civic had been involved in a collision with a van at around 5.30pm.
“Someone stopped at the scene and started CPR then Cindy was resuscitated by paramedics. We are so grateful to them, as this allowed us as a family to spend more time with Cindy.
“We were all there as a family at her beside - everyone had a hand on her as she passed away at 4.41pm on Thursday afternoon,” said Alan.
Cindy’s daughter Rachel said: “Mum always said the worst thing a parent could watch was a child go before them. But the worst thing for a child is to lose a mother. There are no words good enough to describe the person my Mummy is or how I feel at this present moment. Even though her fabulous personality shone throughout every part of her and her life, I am going to miss the simple things like goodnight kisses, the constant ‘I love you millions my special girl’ and the hour long chats about our dreams. I am so so privileged to call her my mother and she made sure she gave all of us the most heart-warming special memories that will stay with us a lifetime.
“Her smile, her laugh, her humour, her love will always be with me. I love you millions forever Mum.”
Cindy’s sister Julie Newell said she was 20 years younger than her and for many years took on a motherly role. “That grew into a friendship, sister relationship which was amazing. She was my biggest support. She is the heart of this family. She was the boss as the oldest sister. She took all the decisions for mum and dad as their health isn’t great.”
Cindy and her partner Alan had been together for 12 loving years. Alan firmly believes Cindy made him a better man. “She was a total and utter inspiration and has improved my life. She was just what I needed.
“We met when we both worked for the First Trust Bank, although in different departments. We enjoyed such brilliant times together - so many things, holidays and weekends away that I have great memories of.
“Over the last few days people have said to me that Cindy and I did more in the last 12 years than a lot of people have done in a lifetime.
“We had outline plans for Cindy’s 60th birthday in a year and a half and that is something I will have to deal with.
“It is absolutely devastating. She was my rock and inspiration to be a better person.”
Cindy grew up in Gilford’s Barrack Hill and went to Craigavon Primary School in the town and on to Tandragee Junior High School. She then went to Banbridge Tech.
Straight after school she joined the TSB Bank in Lisburn in 1977 later moving to the Lurgan branch. She was in the Banbridge branch for a while but she spent the longest time in the TSB, or First Trust as it became known, in Portadown where she was a Mortgage Sales Advisor.
In Lisburn she was a business advisor for the Wallace High School Young Enterprise Team which won the NI Heat of the competition one year.
She took early retirement in 2013 and retrained as a professional make-up artist later working for Clarins initially at Debenhams in Rushmere and most recently Boots at Sprucefield.
In Cindy’s younger years she was very involved in her local Church of Ireland at Tullylish in the Girls Brigade and as a Sunday School teacher.
Her partner Alan said Cindy held strong religious beliefs. Her other sister Tracy McConnell is involved in with a children’s missionary charity called Abaana based in Bangor. Through that charity, Cindy sponsored a little boy called George in Uganda.
Cindy’s partner Alan said some of the family will be taking over this sponsorship and that is why the family feel it is appropriate that donations in lieu of flowers are to the Abaana charity c/o Milne Funeral Services.
The family have been overwhelmed by the huge support and love since Cindy passed away.
Her son Aaron said the kindness of everyone has been ‘unbelievable’ with so many gifts of flowers, food and cards.
“We always knew mum was popular but didn’t realise just how many lives she had touched.
“We now know how much she was loved by everyone around her and how much she loved us... we will always love her.”
The family also want to thank the wider family circle and friends for their support and kindness, those who attended the accident scene for their assistance and medical intervention, the PSNI Liaison Officer who has been a tower of strength and support to them; the ‘absolutely amazing’ hospital staff and consultants at the Royal Victoria Hospital and the funeral director for his compassion and professionalism.
Cindy is the dearest partner of Alan, devoted mum of Aaron and Rachel, the cherished daughter of Joan and Richard Newell, treasured sister of Tracy and Julie, mother in law of Hannah, much loved Nanny C of Alfie and Alice.
Her funeral is today (Wednesday) at 3pm in Tullylish Parish Church with committal following in the adjoining graveyard.
The funeral dress code is not strictly black.
Family flowers only with donations in lieu of flowers if desired to Abaana (a children’s missionary charity) c/o Milne Funeral Services, 5 Newry Road, Banbridge, BT32 3HF.