Tributes to Tessie Bakewell

BALLYCASTLE came to a standstill on Friday night when the funeral of one of the town's most respected citizens, Tessie Bakewell, took place.

Wednesday, 24th February 2010, 10:35 am

Hundreds of mourners from far and near lined the route from North Street to St. Patrick's and St. Brigid's Church prior to Requiem Mass and burial the following morning. It was said to have been one of the biggest funerals ever seen in the area.

Businesses closed as a mark of respect and one mourner commented that a hush had descended over the town as the cortege made its way to her final resting place.

Tessie, along with her late husband, Jim, ran one of the most popular public houses in Ballycastle - The Anglers Arms. However, it was always better known as 'The Divers' or in later years, 'Tessie's' - a testament to her popularity.

Mrs. Bakewell, who pased away on Wednesday last aged 74 following a short illness, was an ever present figure in the business and always worked to high standards. She was meticulous as far as hygiene was concerned and one regular remarked that if you had sat long enough at the bar, she would have washed your face!

Her career though was as a schoolteacher and she began her teaching at Whiteabbey followed by a spell in Cushendall and latterly as Vice-Principal of St. Olcan's Primary School, Armoy, where she gained the respect not only of her fellow teachers, but of the many children she taught down the years.

Glowing tributes were paid to Mrs. Bakewell at Mass conducted by a cousin of the family, Fr. Brendan Hickland, and tributes have also been paid by two of the town's leading citizens.

Moyle Council Chairperson, Cllr Cara McShane, said: "Tessie's was a place where no night out in Ballycastle was complete without a visit. And, in particular, many people called in to the bar before attending events like weddings and the like in the Marine.

"Tessie could be regularly seen about the bar and she was always up for a bit of banter with customers.

"She was a well respected lady and she was part of the fabric of Ballycastle. Everybody knew her and in many ways she was rightly regarded as the unofficial mayoress of the town. I would like to express my sympathy and that of Moyle Council to Mrs Bakewell's family," said Cllr McShane.

Paul Cochrane. Chairperson of Ballycastle Chamber of Commerce, also passed on his condolences.

He said: "Tessie Bakewell was a long serving member of Chamber, school teacher, and as we all know hard working businesswoman. Over the years she worked to build up a great bar and she was a great role model for us all. I sent a wreath on behalf of her friends in the chamber. We will miss her greatly."

Tessie, nee McAuley, was married to the late James and was mother of Sharon, Terence, Christopher and Paul.