Tributes to ‘stalwart’ of London-Irish community who died from coronavirus

Alice Kennedy (83) was chair of the Irish Elderly Advice Network originally from Co Laois

Tributes have been paid to Alice Kennedy, chair of the Irish Elderly Advice Network in London, who has died from coronavirus.

The 83-year-old, who was originally from Clonaslee, Co Laois has been remembered as "a stalwart" of the Irish community in London by the Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Adrian O'Neill.

Mr O'Neill said the Irish Embassy in London was "deeply saddened" by Ms Kennedy's passing. He said she was "a beautiful voice" in the Irish Pensioners Choir and will be "greatly missed by her many colleagues and friends".

Sally Mulready, chief executive of the Irish Elderly Advice Network said Ms Kennedy was chair of the charity for 10 years and was "so passionate about older Irish people".

“She was active right up until the day she was taken to hospital. She ran the Irish elderly organisation as a wonderful, empowering chairperson…She did so much,” Ms Mulready told The Irish Times.

“The thing she loved most herself was the Irish Pensioner’s Choir. She led the choir from humble origins of seven or eight people right up to a flourishing, popular choir. She was the driving force behind it.”

The Irish Chaplaincy in London said Ms Kennedy stood out because of her “constant warm smile and her beautiful charm”.

“These were infectious,” it said in a statement. “She will be greatly missed. Tributes are already flowing in from near and far remembering Alice very fondly.”

The London Irish Centre said she was a “ proud and much-loved member of the London Irish Centre community.”

“ We are deeply sad to hear of her sudden passing. Through Alice’s work with the Irish Elderly Advice Network and the London Irish Pensioner’s Choir, both based at the London Irish Centre, she was a much-loved regular around the building.

“Alice’s unexpected passing is a heartbreaking case of the special vulnerability of the older Irish in London to Covid-19, and a reminder for all us to do everything we can to keep the vulnerable, safe, supported and at home. Our London Irish Centre team will never forget Alice’s bright smile and sense of fun, and we send our sincere condolence to her loved ones.”