London's Irish community turned out in force this evening to celebrate the life of one of its most loyal supporters. The Funeral Mass of Mary Kenny, was concelebrated at the London Irish Centre in Camden by Frs Jerry Kivlehan, Joe Brown and Gerry McFlynn. Mary, who died last week, aged 88, was originally from Roscommon. She worked as a volunteer at the centre for more than 50 years, doing everything from fundraising to greeting visitors at the reception desk. During his homily Fr Jerry, former director of the centre praised her hard work, wisdom, humour and tremendous kindness to all. Many stories were told of her fundraising exploits, he said. The entire Garda was put on alert when she arrived in Ireland with her caravan to organise the famous Fr Jim Butler fundraising cycle tour. "They cleared the roads ahead of her. Stories of her driving on that occasion were legendary," he said. During that trip she raised much-needed funds to support the work of the centre. Fr Jerry said: "Mary showed great compassion. Many newly-arrived emigrants, calling the centre late at night, were discretely helped by her to find jobs and places to stay." "No one has done more than Mary to help Irish emigrants,'' he said. "With the passing of Mary Kenny, part of the history of the Irish in London has also passed away." In a tribute read out by Sr Lucy Troy, Director of the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain, Bishop Seamus Hegarty, from the Irish Episcopal Commission for Emigrants said: "I was saddened to hear the news of Mary Kenny's death.... I met Mary and was very touched by her kindness. It was very evident that Mary was a giant at the Irish Centre With regard to our work for Irish emigrants many of us are passing through but Mary's commitment was lifelong. She has seen many come and go and has silently and diligently supported all. "I am sure many stories will be told over the next few days, not least Mary's many fundraising endeavours and her famous journey around Ireland to raise money for the centre. "I know Mary will be honoured appropriately at the centre and in her home parish of Moore in County Roscommon. May her goodness live on and may life inspire us to give generously of ourselves for the values that Mary lived so graciously." Mary will be buried in Kilbegley cemetery in Co Roscommon following the Funeral Mass in St Mary's Church in Moore on Sunday at 11.30am.
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