Alderman Ruby Cooling 1925-2012

THE end of an era  came with the news on Wednesday that one of North Down’s best known councillors and two times former mayor, Ruby Cooling, had died. She was 87 and had been ill for some time.

Sadness and shock reverberated around the borough when it emerged that the popular DUP representative and much loved mother of fourteen children, grandmother and great-grandmother to her large family had passed away.

Glowing tributes began flowing into the local County Down Spectator offices first thing yesterday morning from those who knew Ruby well as the matriarch of her large family circle and from her years of public service on the council since 1985.

In them Ruby was described as both ‘a lovely lady’ and ‘a real character. She was also praised for her ‘outstanding service’ to the borough. Another simply said, ‘We will miss her to bits.’

The tributes were led by current North Down Mayor, and Ruby’s party colleague, Wesley Irvine, who spoke on behalf of the council which Ruby had served so faithfully for so long.

He said, “The Aldermen, councillors and officers of North Down Borough Council wish to express their sympathy on the passing of Alderman Ruby Cooling.”

This morning I attended her funeral Service in First Bangor Presbyterian Church, situated overlooking the Valley of the Angels. The Church was filled to capacity and I sat with John Carlisle of Conlig, one of her friends from the Orange Order. The First Minister Peter Robinson led the mourners with his Deputy Leader of the DUP Nigel Dodds, with the Aldermen and Councillors of North Down Borough Council and local MLAs, one of whom, Alex Easton gave the Oration. Ruby’s great hero Dr Ian Paisley, the Lord Bannside was accompanied to the Service by Eileen, Baroness Paisley. Ruby was a loyal supporter of the Somme Association and I attended on their behalf.
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