Friendly face of shop for 60 years

Winifred (Winnie) Donaghy
Winifred (Winnie) Donaghy

Woodhouse Street is a sadder place this week following the death of Mrs Winifred Donaghy.

Winnie, as she was known to everyone, ran the newsagents business in the street for over 60 years, formerly with her late husband Willie and thereafter with her son Liam and daughter Marion.

She died in her eightieth year on October 15 following a period of illness.

Her popularity was such that hundreds of mourners from every section of the community turned out to pay their respects at the funeral.

Jonny Cornett, a butcher with neighbouring trader Richardson Meats, said Winnie was his first boss when he started work as a paperboy.

He said, “She was great, she was always there to help you if you needed help with something.

“It the end of an era. She was well-loved down here in Woodhouse Street. Liam and Marion will miss her but the shop will continue on. It’s just very sad.”

Stephen Jones, manager of Tom Morrow Menswear, described Winnie’s death as a “massive loss” to Woodhouse Street and the town in general.

He said, “She was an absolute lady. She was dedicated and caring to her customers, who were not just customers but friends and were treated like friends.

“She was extremely kind-hearted and generous and brought in chocolates to us several times a year.

“When the children went in she would have taken time to talk to them and gave them sweets and lollies but wouldn’t take any money.

“She will be greatly missed by myself and all the staff at Tom Morrow’s.”

Liam Tennyson, owner of Tennyson’s Decor Centre, said he had known Winnie for the best part of 40 years, since he first opened his shop.

“She was a wonderful woman with a great business sense,” he said. “She would have given me great encouragement over the years. There was the same smiling welcome whenever you went in.

“I was very sorry to hear of her death and my condolences go to the family on their bereavement.”

Winnie first came to work in Woodhouse Street at the age of 14, at her uncle Billy McConville’s newsagents .

When the shop was demolished to make way for Magowan Street car park, she and Willie opened ‘Winnie’s’ newsagents at the current premises.

Her family circle have been greatly comforted by the messages of support from all over the country.

They are also greatly appreciative of the medical and nursing care she received from the staff in Craigavon Area Hospital, Lurgan Hospital, Belfast City Hospital, the Acute Care at Home Team and Portadown Health Centre.

Winnie was originally from the Dungannon Road, ‘Clonmartin’, Portadown, daughter of Frank and Teresa Mulholland and one of eight children.

She is survived by her three sisters – Margaret, Eileen and Marie. Winnie will be sadly missed by her daughters Ann, Una, Teresa and Marion and her son Liam.

Winnie was also a beloved granny to Luke, Molly, Marcus and Shea.

Her month’s mind mass will be celebrated in St John the Baptist Church, Drumcree at 7pm on Wednesday, November 15.