Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Sally Boyd (nee Sarah C McManus) died February 2006

(Obituary by Margaret Haire)

Sally successfully combined a happy family life with an enterprising career in the Social Services.

As a girl from the country, she boarded at Princess Gardens School in University Street and became Head Girl. While at Queen’s from 1939 until 1942 her qualities of leadership were again recognised by being appointed as President of the Women’s Students hall, situated in Queen’s Elms. After graduation in Arts she worked in the Ministry of Home Affairs, assisting people who required re-housing following the war time air raids. Many disturbed families desperately needed help and understanding to adapt to living in new areas and Sally was an ideal person to give this support and practical help. A period in London gave her the opportunity to train as a Housing Manager and on her return to Belfast she held that position with the Northern Ireland Housing Trust. Around that time Queen’s saw the need to study Social Sciences and the late Desmond Neill pioneered the setting up of this much needed development. Sally was appointed Tutor.

After marriage to Douglas Boyd, a structural engineer, she became a full time wife and mother, together equipping their daughter and son for fulfilling careers and adult life. She always kept up her connections with Queen’s through membership of the University Association and the Queen’s Women Graduates’ Association, of which she was both Secretary and later President (1979). Through this she became actively involved with the Irish Federation of University Women and served as its Secretary. Strong friendships developed with our southern graduates which were, and continued to be, most important.

In 1980 QWGA launched the Abbeyfield Project. Sally became very involved with this, maybe because of her previous Housing experience. The idea was to sponsor an Abbeyfield House in South Belfast. Sally and her committee had the task of raising £15,000 and worked tirelessly towards this goal. Sally also liaised with Abbeyfield during this time. When the committee was dissolved in 1990 the amount raised was over £19,000, by way of lunches and other enjoyable events organised, plus bank interest earned during the time. For various reasons the plan to actually sponsor a house was no longer deemed viable and in 1990 the decision was made to use the money to provide en suite bathrooms to each resident in one of the existing houses. 23, Deramore Park was chosen and the work carried out, as well as the building of a flat for the housekeeper. It is perhaps worth noting that now, en suite facilities are the norm rather than the innovation they were then.

When her family became independent Sally returned to employment and worked in the Social Services Charity in Bryson House, during which time she courageously qualified in the new Social Work accreditation, essential to be employed as a Social Worker. She started work in the Ulster Hospital and developed an interest in helping the elderly. Before her final retirement she became the Senior Social Worker in the newly formed Unit for the Care of the Elderly in the Ulster Hospital.

Sally was always popular and good fun. She had time for people in every walk of life and always gave sound advice when it was sought. Despite several illnesses during her life and a very difficult last year, Sally faced up to her own problems with dignity and with the determination to keep going. Her Christian faith and her love of people enabled her to be the person she was.



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