Miss Mary Bruce

A SERVICE of thanksgiving was held yesterday in St. Paul’s Parish Church, Castlewellan, for the life of Miss Mary Bruce, of Newcastle, who died last week at the age of 103.

Miss Bruce, who passed away peacefully in Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry, was a remarkable lady who lived a full life and enjoyed good health. She was fiercely independent and up until relatively recently had lived alone in her house in Newcastle.

At times forthright in her views and blessed with a formidable memory, she had a wide circle of friends and was good company.

Miss Bruce was born in Belfast and for a short time lived in Comber before her family moved to Corriewood House, Castlewellan. Tragedy struck early on when her father was killed in action just weeks before the end of the First World War.

Miss Bruce had a strong sense of duty and during the Second World she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. Following the war she lived for a time in Downpatrick before moving to Bryansford and, later, to Newcastle.

She had many interests, most notably golf and bird-watching. She was a member of Royal County Ladies’ Golf Club since 1927 and was a past captain and past president of the club. She also travelled extensively.

She was involved in many local committees and charities which benefited from her experience and common-sense approach.

Miss Bruce was interested in politics and was a founder member of the Alliance Party.

Mary Smyth-Farr, honorary secretary of the South Down Alliance Association, said members were saddened by Miss Bruce’s death.

“Mary was a founder member of the Alliance Party and did not retire from active participation on the South Down Alliance Committee, which she hosted in Newcastle, until her 102nd year,” she said.

“Mary was a most remarkable person with many interests, including travel to most parts of the world. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.”


Miss Bruce is survived by her nieces and nephews — Margaret, Nicholas, Bill, Robert, Patrick and Hilda — and the family circle.