The second event for the new session of the St. Mungo Singers struck quite a different note from its opening celebration (see separate article). The choir were greatly saddened to hear of the death of Bridget Devlin, the leader of the alto section, and one of the longest serving and most committed members of the choir.
Bridget had celebrated her 90th birthday in January and had been attending the choir until fairly recently, when her failing health made it difficult for her to get out – although she had been at the choir 45th anniversary dinner. Even in her final illness, she was still able to sing the alto part for the hymns we sang for her at her care home.
Her funeral took place in St Leo the Great church on 29/30 August. The church was packed for the Vigil and the funeral. Fr. Brendan Murtagh presided at both services, as Mgr. Gerry was unable to be present due to illness. Her family (children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren) were joined by members of the St. Mungo Singers and the choir of St. Leo’s, representatives of the SVdP conference of the parish (of which Bridget had been an active member into her 80s) and parishioners and friends.
Fr. Brendan recalled how, as a member of the St Vincent de Paul, she had visited his mother both at home and in a care home and he also had the congregation laughing as he remembered how active she had been when on holiday in Malta with the St. Mungo Singers, climbing hilly streets and leaving younger members in her wake.
Her son, Martin, recalled that her faith had been so important for her. As well as being in the St. Mungo Singers for over 40 years and, before that, the previous Archdiocesan choir, she had also been completely committed to the St. Vincent de Paul, becoming the first woman President of the Conference in St. Conval’s parish (and probably the first woman president in the UK, if not the world, he suggested). She had passed her love of music and her great involvement in charitable work on to her seven children and their children and grandchildren.
Bridget will be much missed in the St Mungo Singers. Even when she was physically absent latterly, it always felt as though she was with us in spirit, sitting in her usual place in the front row of the altos. May she rest in peace.