IRVINESTOWN and its surrounding areas came to a standstill last week as former GP and community stalwart, Margaret Knox, was laid to rest.
Dr Knox passed away peacefully on February 3rd. On Monday last week the community lined the roads and streets from St Patrick’s Parish Church at Castle Archdale, where her funeral service was held by Rev Glenn West, as the cortege made its way to her final resting place at Derryvullen North Churchyard in Irvinestown.
Motorists, residents, local shop workers who had closed their doors, and the entire staff of Irvinestown Health Centre were among the many who came out on to the streets to pay their respects as Dr Knox made her final journey.
“I was just so humbled and so proud of mum that she had that level of support. I didn’t doubt that she would,” her son David told the Herald.
David said even before the funeral the family had been overwhelmed by the number of people who had come to say goodbye at the Ballycassidy Funeral Home, where mourners were queued out and around the building.
The level of sadness in the local community at Dr Knox’s passing is unsurprising, given the strong impact she made on that community.
Originally from Donegal, the eldest of three daughters to William and Wilhelmina Elliott, Dr Knox moved with her family to Irvinestown in 1955.
It was in the medical field she first made an impact on the community. Having studied at Queen’s in Belfast, she took up her first GP post in Trillick, before moving on to Ederney, and subsequently to Irvinestown Health Centre, where she remained until her retirement in 2007.
Dr Knox cared deeply for her patients, and was known for her attentive house calls, including return visits which often came with a home-baked fruit loaf. She would also often research new medications to help with her patients’ recovery.
In May 1968 Dr Knox married her beloved Cecil at Togherdoo Methodist Church in Dromore. The couple welcomed their son David in August 1974.
Farmer Cecil passed away in July 2009, after which Dr Knox continued with his work, keeping over 50 sheep on the land.
Dr Knox always encouraged David to also forge his own way, like she had, encouraging him in his career, which brought him to England. She was very fond of David’s wife Freya, and her grandchildren, Charlie and Oliver, were a great source of joy to her.
David and Freya always enjoyed hosting Dr Knox at their home in Hertfordshire, where she would rest and relax during her visits. She even brought her love of blackberry picking across the water with her, with David holding fond memories of autumn walks with his mother.
Rev West told the mourners, “An informed clergyman said to me a few days ago, if you’re to talk about all the good Margaret did you’ll be in the pulpit all day.”
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