HEARTFELT tributes have been paid to a widely-respected pharmacist who frequently went above and beyond the call of duty as she served the communities of Drumquin and Dromore over 25 years.
Valerie Elizabeth Florence Jackson, late of Bridge Road, Dromore, passed away peacefully at Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex on Sunday (July 12). She was just 49-years-old.
Once a finalist in the NI Pharmacist of the Year competition, Valerie had worked for Bradley’s Pharmacy for 25 years, first in Drumquin and later in her native Dromore.
A tribute posted on their Facebook page stated, “Over the years, Valerie has cared for so many people with both medical and other issues that are beyond counting.
“It is no exaggeration to say there are people alive today who owe their lives to Valerie Jackson.”
As a mark of respect, both the Dromore and Drumquin branches remained closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Large numbers lined the route on Monday evening to pay their respects as her remains were taken to Holy Trinity Parish Church, Dromore, for her funeral on Tuesday afternoon.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the service was for family only, but it was broadcast to more than 300 people online via the church’s Facebook page.
Rector, Rev Andrew Quill, told the mourners that it was as a pharmacist that Valerie’s love of people and service to the two communities developed, and how many people knew and benefited from her pharmaceutical and life skills.
The clergyman said that her talents and skills were recognised regionally when she was a nominated finalist for Pharmacist of the Year. Along with the Bradley team, she also participated in many other awards, including Pharmacy Team of the Year.
Mr Quill said that Valerie was also a “dedicated and hard-working” member of the Board of Governors for Dromore Primary School, “giving back what she had received many years before” as a child.
A lifelong and faithful parishioner at Holy Trinity, she had taught Sunday School since 1998 and took over responsibility for coordinating the Sunday School programme two years later.
The rector said, “Valerie’s services to the community extended to the local cultural group and pipe band. If ever there was a form to be completed or a grant to be applied for, Valerie is the one they went to for help.”
Mr Quill told the mourners that, given her focus on improving other people’s health, it was “somewhat cruel” she got the devastating news about her own health at the end of April this year, that there was no treatment available.
“Valerie simply accepted it as it was. She was a woman who had a deep faith. Her nature and caring attitude never changed. Even when in hospital she was seen helping others,” the clergyman said.
Predeceased by her late father Joe, she is survived by mother Florence, and brothers Arnold and Noel.