Tributes to mother of Teebane victim

Annie Harkness
Annie Harkness

TRIBUTES have been paid to the mother of one of the Teebane victims following her death earlier this year.

Annie Harkness, from Mackney in Cookstown, passed away in February aged 79. She was the mother of David, who was killed at the Teebane massacre in 1992.

Annie was described as a popular local lady and was said to have held a strong faith despite a number of family tragedies over the years.

Eleven years before David’s death Annie lost one of her five daughters. Doreen was killed in a road traffic accident while on checkpoint duty with the RUC.

Annie’s Christian faith remained strong throughout this adversity and she was called an inspiration by all who came in contact with her.

Born, Ann Dorothea Cheevers on 22 June 1932, Annie was the daughter of Margaret and William Cheevers, Milburn and sister of Joseph and Stanley. Sadly, Annie’s father died suddenly at the young age of 26 when Annie was just nine months old and when her mother remarried her family moved to Craigs, near Orritor where she attended the local Primary School.

Annie made many friends during her school days and later when working in the Daintifyt Factory until she married Cyril Harkness on 6 July 1954 in Orritor Presbyterian Church. They set up home at Drumnaglough where they lived for a number of years, before moving to live at Mackney. They had five daughters and one son.

She loved her church and was a member of Orritor PWA and founder leader of Orritor Junior Christian Endeavour, where she had a great love for the children and they for her, and in particular her story telling. She was a faithful member of Orritor Prayer Union and had a great love for the Faith Mission. Annie was also a founder member of Killycurragh W.I. where she made many friends. She was also involved in the victim support group WAVE, and the RUC Benevolent Support Group. Through these organisations Annie took many opportunities to speak to and inspire many groups and individuals who had experienced similar losses and it was a source of pride to her that through these activities she was privileged to meet all the members of the Royal family.

Annie enjoyed contact with people young and old, and the Harkness home at Mackney was open to all sections of the community. Aided and abetted by her beloved Cyril, Annie was always quick to get the kettle on at the first sign of a visitor and enjoy a bit of craic and banter. They celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary before Cyril passed away in March 2006. After his death, Annie’s health began to decline and after lengthy spells in hospital she eventually needed 24-hour nursing, spending her last two years in Moneymore Care Home.

Annie is survived by her daughters Heather, Dorothea, Louise and Ruth, four son-in-law, eight grandsons, three granddaughters and one great grandchild, sisters Dorothy and Alison and brothers Stanley and Raymond.

It was a testimony to Annie’s popularity that such a large number of people attended her funeral service. It was conducted by her former Minister and long time friend the Reverend Ivor Smith who gave both a moving and heart-warming address. Her family and the community have lost a much loved mother, grandmother, friend, neighbour and acquaintance.