ap nov 2017 200dpi

27 November 2017 Edition

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Betty Anderson (nee McCaul), Derry City

Fógraí Bháis

Even though she struggled with rearing ten children on her own she never shied away from defending others and she always found time to get involved in community activity.

BETTY ANDERSON, my mother, was born in Derry’s Bogside in 1925 and lived her entire 92 years within less than a mile from her McCaul family home. From a staunchly republican family Betty married Billy ‘Dinky’ Anderson and they had ten children, seven girls and three boys.

Sadly, Betty was widowed in her early 1940s when my father died following a short illness in 1973. Despite the hardships, Betty ensured that we were given the best upbringing possible. 

Even though she struggled with rearing ten children on her own she never shied away from defending others and she always found time to get involved in community activity.

Living in an area blighted by unionist discrimination and gerrymandering, she became prominently involved in civil rights campaigning in Derry and as the conflict intensified she became centrally involved in the prison campaigns including the H-Blocks protests.

Although she spent much of her time in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s visiting myself and my sister Martina (in Mountjoy, the Curragh, Portlaoise, Brixton and Durham high-security prisons and finally, before her release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, Martina in Maghaberry) she always found time to involve herself in other civil rights issues.

She was delighted when I was elected to Derry City Council but it was nothing to her pride and joy when Martina went on to be elected Assembly member for Foyle and subsequently Junior Minister to her hero Martin McGuinness and subsequently as MEP for the Six Counties.

For the last 17 years my mother suffered from Alzheimer’s and was confined to bed for the majority of that time. The family will always be grateful for the support and assistance provided by the health carers, nurses and doctors who gave unstinting support to the family during my mother’s long illness.

Our only regret is that due to the advanced stage of her illness she was unable to share in the pride and joy felt by us and the people of Foyle when her granddaughter Elisha McCallion following a very successful term as the first Mayor of the new Derry City and Strabane ‘super council’ was elected not only the first female but the first Sinn Féin MP for the Foyle constituency in the recent Westminster election.

Betty Anderson will always be remembered by her family, the Republican Movement and the people of Derry as a staunchly proud republican who never flinched from doing the right thing by the people that she loved.

On behalf of the Anderson family I express heartfelt thanks to the republican family and all of those from near and far who sent cards, condolences or visited the home, attended the Mass and funeral.

Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam

By Peter Anderson

GUE-NGL-new-Jan-2106

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1
Ireland
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