Brigid O’Gorman -
An Appreciation

Brigid Mary O’Gorman (née Aylward) has died at her home in London at the age of 93.

Brigid Mary O’Gorman (née Aylward) has died at her home in London at the age of 93.

Originally from Springfield, Ballingarry, she was one of the five daughters and four sons of Michael Aylward and Ellen Hayes of Ballintaggart. Born in September 1918, Brigid (or Bidsy as she was more commonly known), was educated at the Presentation Convent in Ballingarry. At the age of 15, she left home, along with her sister Kit, to go to a convent boarding school in Glasgow, where her aunt, Sister Carmela, was a member of the teaching staff. Kit subsequently became a nun at the Convent of Mercy in Sunderland. For her part, Bidsy began a career as office administrator in the hotel business, working in a number of hotels in various parts of England, including the Dorchester in the west end of London. At the outbreak of war, she joined the Womens Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). She served for a time in Belfast, and was there during the bombing attacks of April 1941, which severely damaged many parts of the city.

In 1947 she met her future husband, Jim O’Gorman, from Kildrinagh, Woodsgift, in County Kilkenny, who had recently returned from war service in India and Burma. They married the following year, and finally settled in Harrow, north London. Jim, who was a train driver with the London Underground, died in 1992. Over the course of a long and very happy marriage, they raised seven children, four girls and three boys. Bidsy had a great love of Ireland, and particularly her home county of Tipperary, and every summer she returned with her growing family to spend time with her mother and brothers John and Martie at the Aylward family home in Springfield, with its superb views across the fields towards the distant slopes of Slievenamon.

Once her youngest child had started school, Bidsy returned to office administration, working for many years at Harrow Art School. Among the many students she got to know at this time was Nicholas Mosse, who now runs a successful pottery business in Bennettsbridge.

She continued working until well into her 70s, and remained in robust health until suffering a stroke in early 2011. She bore her last illness with great patience and resignation, and with flashes of her customary humour. She will be missed by a wide circle of friends in the Parish of St John Fisher in North Harrow, where she was a parishioner for almost 50 years. Bidsy is survived by her seven children, Edward, Michael, Carmel, Julie, Eleanor, James, and Mary, and by nine grandchildren, as well as by her brothers Jim, Mick, and Martie.