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Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



`Wee Salvation Army Woman' passes away

Sister Jean Belshaw

`Wee Salvation Army Woman' passes away

AN 84-YEAR-old Lisburn woman who served with the Salvation Army for over seven decades has died after a long illness.

Sister Jean Belshaw, of Nettlehill Road in Ballymacash, who was affectionately known as the 'Wee Salvation Army Woman' passed away on January 26.

Jean (nee Welch) was born in May 1921 in Grand Street and joined the Salvation Army when she was just ten years old.

Her family were opposed to her joining but even at a young age Jean was determined. She wanted to join the Salvation Army's Social Service but was not allowed by her family - something she had always longed to do.

After the Second World War, Jean met and married her husband John and together they had five children Lil, Alec, Jean, David and Louise.

Even while bringing up a family, Jean still continued serving in the Salvation Army.

She would be regularly seen walking to and from the Army Citadel along the Dublin Road, in their uniforms carrying band instruments.

Jean was a soldier and songster who worked tirelessly with the young people in the Lisburn Corps.

Among her many duties were arranging the annual outing to parties.

Later in life Jean would often reminisce with other members of the corps about how, as a young woman, she and others would march to Hillsborough for the open air event then on to Culcavy before returning back to the Salvation Army citadel on the Dublin Road.

Jean was well known for taking part in the Public House Ministry. Indeed she commanded a great respect from those within the local pubs.

A welcome drink of orange juice and bag of crisps were often left on the counter for her at the local pubs she would visit.

Jean was most happy collecting for the Self Denial Harvest Appeals.

Competitions were held to see who would fundraise the most and more often than not Jean would be one of the top fund raisers. So dedicated to the Army was Jean that she was often heard to remark. 'If the Army's alright then I'm alright.'

Jean was happiest when working in the Service of the Lord and often testified God's goodness in her life. Prior to her death she would often remark that she was 'Ready to go to Glory.'

Jean passed away on January 26 and her funeral took place at the Army Citadel at Rushmore Drive. She was buried with full military honours with a hat and an army flag draped over her coffin.

She is survived by her five children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Her husband John passed away in 1988.

Two grandchildren have followed in their grandmother's footsteps and are now serving as officers within the Salvation Army. The members of the Salvation Army will sadly miss her - 'Well done thy good and faithful servant '