Lady Lucy Faulkner

Lady Lucy Faulkner

LADY Lucy Faulkner, who has died aged 86, was the widow of Mr. Brian Faulkner, later Baron Faulkner of Downpatrick, the sixth and last prime minister of Northern Ireland.

Lady Faulkner passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on Friday night.

Born Lucy Forsythe, Lady Faulkner was a highly talented woman. She was an accomplished horsewoman, artist and writer, and was a great help to her husband throughout his political career.

Before her marriage in 1952, she was the secretary and personal assistant of Lord Brookeborough, the Northern Ireland premier, and a journalist with the Belfast Telegraph.

The couple had three children — David, Claire and Michael — who were brought up in a loving environment at the family home near Seaforde and on holidays on the shores of Strangford Lough.

At the same time Lady Faulkner was a constant presence at her husband’s side, accompanying him on his travels, helping to write his speeches and offering discreet advice.

His tragic and untimely death at the age of 56 in 1977 in a hunting accident while riding with the County Down Staghounds near Saintfield affected her greatly, but with typical stoicism and fortitude she was a source of great strength and comfort for her grieving family.

She also threw herself into her own career. She served two terms as National Governor of the BBC in Northern Ireland. She also carried out important genealogical research and later began an antiquarian book business.

In 2005 Lady Faulkner was greatly debilitated by a stroke. Even so, she continued to take a full and active role in family life and maintained her many friendships. Right to the end, she put the interests of others before herself.

A memorial service will be held in Magherahamlet Presbyterian Church, near Ballynahinch, this Friday at 2pm.

Lady Faulkner is survived by her children, grandchildren and the family circle.