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‘Larger than life’ daily staffer dies aged 89 after coronavirus diagnosis

Betty McCawA former regional daily staff member has died aged 89 after contracting coronavirus-related pneumonia.

Tributes have been paid to Elizabeth Proctor, also known as Betty McCaw, who worked for the Belfast Telegraph in the 1970s and 1980s.

Betty, pictured, rose to the title of head of copy during her time at the Bel Tel.

She was diagnosed with dementia last year and after suffering a fall at her care home in March was taken to Antrim Area Hospital, where she died on Friday.

Describing her as a “larger than life character”, her nephew Scott Charrington told the Bel Tel: “She was very intelligent, very loving and outgoing person. I was her godson and she definitely had a soft spot for me.

“She always went above and beyond for me. She was always there for me, any problems that I had – financial, emotional or teenage angst – my aunt was always there.

“When she went into the care home I knew that we didn’t have too much longer with her. I could see the deterioration in her even before she went into the home.

“I was a bit more prepared for what had happened but still with COVID-19 it did come as a shock and it was a bit more rapid than we expected.”

He added: “Most of the people who worked with her at the Telegraph would have known her as Betty McCaw She married my uncle Ronny, who sadly passed away in 1980, and she then remarried in 1985/86. She went as Proctor after that.”

Betty is also survived by her son, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her family will not be able to have a normal funeral because she contracted coronavirus before she passed away, but a memorial service is planned when coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Mr Charrington said: “I understand the cremation takes place without any family members. Even if it is just one or two individuals it will be her son and daughter-in-law who would take that place.

“It is a problem and it is difficult for the family. It is one of those processes that is in place to help you mourn the loss of your loved ones and this has been taken away from us because of this virus.”

He added: “She had an enormous love of life and she will be sorely missed by her family.”