As Anna Monaghan’s funeral cortege made its way through the streets of Enniskillen on Saturday, the town fell silent. Shop owners such as butcher Pat O’Doherty pulled down the shutters and bowed their heads in a show of respect as the white coffin carrying the 60-year-old passed by.

At her funeral Mass at St. Michael’s Church, mourners, including country star Hugo Duncan, heard of the positive impact that country fan Anna, who had down syndrome, had on the lives of very many including her own doctor Joseph McConville who helped to carry her coffin.

Paying his respects from thousands of miles away was country singer Daniel O’Donnell who was on holiday in Tenerife and who had visited Anna at South West Acute Hospital. In a video call, the singer spoke to each of Anna’s family during the wake and said goodbye to one of his biggest fans.

“She was one of Daniel’s honorary fans and he visited her in hospital before her birthday last November. He has always been number one with her. She used to go to the concerts.

“Daniel phoned us during the wake; he wanted to see her and he spoke to the entire family individually. He never forgot her,” said her sister Margaret, who lived with her at Cornagrade.

“In fact, during the wake the house never emptied with people telling stories. Some people who were looking for the wake house heard people laughing as they left. They didn’t think they had the right house,” said Margaret.

The funeral was officiated by Fr. Brian D’Arcy who was good friends with Anna and Father Brendan Gallagher, Father Seamus Quinn and Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, with arrangements carried out by Enda Love.

“So many people are going to miss her; she loved getting out and about and talking to people and hugging – she loved to give hugs,” said Margaret, not least her family. As well as Margaret, Anna is remembered by brothers Michael, Kevin and Martin and sisters Vera Donnelly and Dympna Sisk as well as many nieces and nephews.

A familiar face around Enniskillen, Anna was well-known from the top of the town to the bottom, particularly at Martin Rooney’s shop where she would go almost every day.

“She loved going there for mince and potato every day; she enjoyed his cooking more than mine,” laughed Margaret. “When she was sick in hospital she still wanted something from Rooney’s”.

And the staff adored her when she visited with the shop “almost coming to a stop” as Anna greeted the staff, even singing “Sweet Caroline” to one of the staff members.

“She would sing that to Caroline while asking her to get her an ice-cream. She would go behind the counter wherever she went to greet the staff; whether it was Rooney’s, Advanced Beauty or the opticians, and she would be singing at the same time,” explained Margaret.

“When we went to O’Doherty’s, Pat and the staff would always give her something extra just for herself.”

Even when Anna visited Dr. McConville at the health centre she would ask the reception staff to tell the doctor that she loved him and to give him a kiss, said Margaret.

“The lassies would say ‘yes we’ll tell him you love him, but we are not going to go as far and kiss him,” she laughed. “The GP, doctors Mallon and McConville and all the staff were like a second family to her, she loved them and appreciated all that they did for her. At her 50th birthday party she entertained guests to Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ changing the next two lines to ‘with Dr. McConville” who was one of the invited guests.

“And we did too. We are thankful to all those who helped her, even the doctors, nurses and ambulance staff at SWAH couldn’t have done more for her,” she said.

She has been described by her family as “a real party animal”.

“When one birthday party ended invitations were extended to family and friends to return next year”. Earlier parties were celebrated at her home with her long-term boyfriend Harry Nixon.

All guests were entertained to singing and humour and for her 50th birthday she was transported to the Killyhevlin Hotel in a stretch limo.

Anna’s upbeat and optimistic outlook was one of her greatest strengths, even when she was ill in hospital having been treated for pneumonia and later when she had a pacemaker fitted.

“She was always smiling; she always said you have to be happy. She used to say to me ‘I am very happy’, even during her sickness.

“She loved life and people loved her. We’ve had more people tell us how she used to give hugs to them when they were feeling down and she didn’t even know some of them.

“She loved life, that’s it, she just loved life,” Margaret told The Impartial Reporter.