Tributes have been paid to well-respected former Pettigo postmistress Rita Gallagher, who was known for her "friendly" and "talkative" nature.

Rita passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 12 at Sligo University Hospital at the age of 88.

A familiar face on both sides of the Pettigo border, Rita held the position of postmistress at Pettigo Post Office from 1985 to approximately 2000. She was highly regarded in the local community as a businesswoman with polite, courteous and friendly mannerisms. Rita was succeeded by her son James Gallagher who currently holds the position of postmaster in Pettigo.

Speaking fondly of his late mother, James said: "She could talk for Ireland. She was a friendly, talkative woman and she was outgoing."

Commenting that his mother thoroughly enjoyed her role as postmistress and getting to know her customers, he said: "The house and shop are attached here and in later years she stayed up and sat up to chat to customers."

Many from the Fermanagh side of the Border will remember her well, particularly those purchasing Irish lotto tickets.

“Our lotto started around 1985, there was no lotto in the UK at that stage. We had a huge amount of business coming over from Fermanagh and Tyrone into the shops, so they all got to know her in the shop there," he added.

Noting that Rita had her "full faculties right up until the end", James shared: "She had a very good brain, she wanted to count everything in her head and on paper, she didn’t like using tills."

Rita will be also be remembered as a loyal Donegal GAA supporter.

“All the traffic from the matches used to pass by our shop on the street. She’d come out waving the Donegal flag as the county team bus passed through," reminisced James.

A devout Catholic, Rita would attend Mass every Saturday night, said James, adding that his mother had "a strong faith".

Rita was predeceased by her husband Patsy and son Michael. She is survived by her family including Elizabeth, Teresa, James, Aileen, Roly, Del, Marie, Niamh as well her brother Charlie, sisters Isabel, Helen, Mary, Vera and Nuala, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nephews, nieces and the extended family circle.

“Her family was her whole life. We all loved her and she treated us all the same," James told this newspaper.