Grief at the loss of talented solicitor and young mum (31)

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THERE is widespread grief and sympathy in Portadown over the death at the age of 31, of popular young mother and respected solicitor Victoria Montgomery (nee Goward).

Mrs Montgomery was widely talented - an award-winning solicitor, a superb singer and pianist, so full of fun that she once entered the Rose of Tralee competition and was Ulster runner-up.  She had a remarkable flair for languages, had a love of travel, and was a committed Christian.

 Most of all, she was totally committed to her family, especially husband David whom she married at Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church on August 2, 2007, and their 20-month-old daughter Rebecca. She is also survived by her parents Angela and Terry Goward, brothers Nicholas and Christopher, parents-in-law Billy and Lesley Montgomery, sister-in-law Carol, brother-in-law Philip, and niece Erin.

 At the threshold of a wonderful and fulfilling life, Mrs Montgomery, whose home was at Lynden Gate, Ballyhannon, was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) in February this year, and died in the City Hospital after an inspiring and courageous fight.

She never gave up, facing the challenge positively throughout, comforted by her faith and buoyed by the prayers of many.

The young Victoria Leeanne Goward was born and brought up in Richhill, where she attended the local Hardy Memorial Primary School, before moving on to Clounagh Junior High and Portadown College. 

She excelled at her academic studies and gained a place at Queen’s University to study Common and Civil Law with French. She emerged with a LLB 2:1 Honours Degree and was awarded a place at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, whilst undertaking her apprenticeship with the Portadown firm of Walker McDonald.  Following two years of study she received the Certificate of Professional Legal Studies with Distinction.

 Whilst at the Institute she gained two major awards, The Cleaver Fulton Rankin Prize for drafting wills and the Law Society’s Solicitors Accounts prize. She became a full Member of the Law Society and became an Associate Solicitor at Walker McDonald in 2005.

 Brian Walker a partner in the firm, said, “Victoria is such a loss and we send our deepest sympathy to the family. She never made an enemy, which is saying something for a solicitor! She gave her all, whether the case was big or small. The fact that she learned Portuguese to help the migrant community says it all. She was unique.”

 Outside the profession, Victoria loved music. She attained Grade 8 in Piano and gained a Diploma for Vocal Performance.

Her tastes were eclectic, ranging from the Armagh Girls Choir where she sang soprano, to dancer and backing singer with Barry Doyle (aka Farmer Dan).

She was a leading member of the praise group of Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church where the family worshipped, and also of St James’ Parish in Moy, where David’s family worships. She was also a keen linguist, speaking French and Spanish fluently and studying Japanese as well as Portuguese in her spare time.

 It was a shattering blow to her family when Victoria was diagnosed with AML in February. They were inspired at the positive way in which she faced it, right up until her death at Belfast City Hospital on November 20. Her husband David said, “Victoria was such a beautiful, talented, and bubbly person.  She was remarkably positive, and she remained that way throughout her illness. Although the doctors told her how serious her condition was, she refused to give up.”

 He added that they received tremendous support from Edenderry Memorial Methodist Church, in particular their minister the Rev Dr David Clements.  The family are grateful for the work of the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff of Ward 10 North, Belfast City Hospital, plus the hospital Chaplain the Rev Dr Fred Munce.  They would also like to thank Rev Brother David Jardine of Divine Healing Ministries in Belfast, and the hundreds who prayed for her. There was a 24-hour prayer circle during Victoria’s final days.

 Edenderry Church and the adjoining hall were full to capacity for Friday’s service, which was conducted by the Rev Dr Clements, assisted by the Rev Aonghus Mayes, Rector of St James’ Parish Church, Moy. Members of Victoria’s family read the Bible passages and poems.

Hymns were ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’, ‘The King of Love My Shepherd Is’, and ‘In Christ Alone’.

 Burial was at Kernan Cemetery and donations are to Leukaemia Research, c/o Ian Milne and Sons, Funeral Directors, ‘Deo Gratias’, 59 Seagoe Road, Portadown, BT63 5HS.

The family would like to thank Ian Milne and Sons for their dignity and professionalism during this difficult time.