Bromley, England and formerly of Bridge Street, Westport, Co Mayo
Sally died peacefully in Princess Royal Hospital, Farnborough, London, after a short illness surrounded by her family. She was born in 1934 at the family home on Bridge Street, Westport, Co Mayo,the daughter of Michael Flynn and Sarah Flynn (née Slevin) and the middle child of ten, John (who later lived in Castlebar), Tommy (London), Mary (New Zealand and Australia), Paddy (Ballina), Tessie (London), Michael (Chicago, USA), Sally (London), Kitty (London), Peter (Westport) and Rosie (Australia).
She went to the Convent of Mercy school and spent happy childhood days around Westport, swimming down at The Quay, at her father’s dancehall, The Ideal Ballroom, later The Grand Central Dancehall and the Regal cinema. She helped in her mother’s tea shop on Bridge Street and played in her father’s Limeyard. Although Sally left Westport at 18 and never lived there again, it always held a special place in her heart.
Sally moved to England in 1952 to Manchester, working in Burgins Cake Shop on the Oxford Road. She returned to Ireland three years later working as the Manageress at Mitchells, a large bakers and grocery store in Ballina for four years. It was in Ballina Sally Flynn met John Battle of Corcoran Terrace, Ballina, at the Arus Mhaire Dancehall, when she asked John to dance as a “Ladies Choice”. Dancing ran through her life, as was looking her best. Photos of her courting years show how elegant and fashionable she was, she never wore a pair of jeans in her life.
On March 31, 1959, Sally and John married at St Mary’s Church, Westport, the reception was at the Travellers Friend Hotel, Castlebar, and they travelled to their honeymoon in Galway by bus. After their honeymoon the newlyweds went to London, moving round from Battersea to Norwood and finally settling in Bromley, where they lived for nearly 50 years.In 2019 they celebrated their 60 years Diamond Wedding Anniversary. They complemented each other and worked as a pair, never separated for long by distance or time. Sally was always a dear wife to John, she was the beat of his heart and the woman of his dreams.
In time, Sally became the mother of five children Sarah, Anne, John, Brendan and Michael. Being a mother was the central role in Sally’s life and what she was really, really good at – the best.She was kind, loyal, loving, humble, protective and caring to her children – never raising her voice or hand to her children. She passed her driving test in her forties and even took up line dancing for a time. She maintained her working life, whether catering in Crystal Palace National Sports Centre and later as an auxiliary nurse in Mayday Hospital, Croydon and Cheyne Hospital, West Wickham, where she cared for seriously disabled children.
She loved each one of her 16 grandchildren and her four great grand-children giving them unconditional love and apple pies and biscuits. She was intensely proud of each one of them, making each one feel very special and unique. She was a great listener and sensitive to their hopes and fears.
Sally lived by a clear set of values instilled by her parents in Westport: family first, humility, listening more than talking, looking for the good in people and treating everyone equally, underpinned by a strong Catholic faith. She was a gentle lady who had a real sweetness and an innocence about her. She had no regrets and led a blessed, fulfilled and good life. If her young self had met her old self on Croagh Patrick and was told “This would be your life ahead Sally - 61 years marriage, five children, 16 grandchildren, four great grandchildren and loved by all”, she would say “Yes I’ll take that - that’s my dream”.
Sally will be greatly missed by her husband John and five children, her grandchildren and great grandchildren and her surviving siblings Peter, Paddy, Kitty and Rosie.
May she rest in peace.