Nora McKay, who died on September 29, was a highly respected member of the
Carnlough community and a Past President of the Antrim Coast Lions Club.
She was also one of the founder members of the Young Farmers Club in Carnlough and acted as its first secretary.
Born in March 1944 at Carnegie, Ballyvaddy Road, Carnlough, she was one of six children of Henry Black, a local farmer, and his wife Margaret, who was a teacher. Her siblings were Seamus, Catherine (Kay), Roisin, Nora, Brian and Sean.
Educated at Harphall Girls’ Primary School, she attended St. Aloysius Intermediate School and completed her education at Larne Technical College.
Starting her working career as a secretary in the Quality Supply Centre in 1960, she moved on to become manager at Romax Rentals/Vision Hire in Larne, returning to Quality Supply Centre in the late 1970s, refining her skills in sales and marketing.
In addition to her day job, she and husband Robert opened Whitehill Caravan Park in Carnlough in 1976. The birth of her son in 1983 resulted in her staying at home to focus on her family and manage the growing business of the caravan park.
Nora McKay saw the park and its residents as more than a job and treated them as an extension of her family. She continued to work there until her death.
Her involvement in the coastal community extended well beyond business and family commitments, and she had a deep interest in the area and anything that was beneficial to it.
A founding member of the local Young Farmer’s Club, it was there that she met her husband Robert.
She became a member of the Antrim Coast Lions Club in 1994 and served as Club President in 2000.
She was a very active Lion, helping to co-ordinate the Carnlough Carnival and the annual Charter dinner, promoting charity events and volunteering many hours for the club’s numerous events.
She was a keen and willing sponsor of local events and clubs, from charity pig racing to the local rowing club.
A keen sports fan, she began to follow Manchester United after the Munich Air Disaster of February 1958 and enjoyed regular trips to Old Trafford, holding season tickets for several years.
She was also an avid rugby fan and she and her husband Robert attended their first rugby match – Ireland versus Wales – while on their honeymoon.
Over the years they travelled to Dublin regularly and also in later years to France, Wales, Scotland and England to watch Six Nations matches.
Nora McKay was very family orientated and adored having family and friends around her kitchen table for tea or dinner.
Her siblings were a huge part of her life and her home on the Whitehill Road was a regular gathering place for the family, her nieces and nephews being frequent guests from an early age.
She was widely recognised in the local community as a selfless person who did her best to help everyone she met, including taking time out of a busy lifestyle to help and comfort anyone in need.
She was known for her generosity and her passing on September 29 at Antrim Area Hospital greatly saddened the local community and all who knew her.
In a tribute Antrim Coast Lions said that they attended her funeral to say a final farewell “with the heaviest of hearts.”
“An exemplary Lion and such a wonderful person, she will be so sadly missed by her Lion family and the wider community,” the Club said.
Others commented on the site that Nora McKay was a great woman who did lots for her community.
“Knew Nora for over 30 years, never heard anyone say a bad word about her, a very friendly woman will be sadly missed by all her caravan family,” another said.
“What a wonderful lady Nora was. Carnlough as a community will sadly miss you, but Carnlough’s loss is Heaven’s gain,” said another.
A message from an old friend said “One of my best friends from our teenage years.
“We shared so much of our life growing up. We always had a laugh together and always kept in touch when I emigrated to Australia.”
Nora McKay died peacefully in Antrim Area Hospital on September 29 and her funeral service was held on October 1 at St. John the Evangelist Church, Carnlough, with the officiating priest being Fr. Anthony Alexander.
Interment took place at Ardclinnis Parish Churchyard, Carnlough.
She is survived by her husband Robert, son Robert Jr and daughter-in-law Tiffany, as well as sister Roisin, brothers Brian and Sean and a wide family circle.
Donations in lieu of flowers were encouraged to Antrim Area Hospital ICU