“If the sun shines in your soul what does it matter that it rains outside” - Sandra Vernon.
The passing of Sandra Vernon will be noted by the passing of a great positivity in the community. As the accolades come in via social media and spoken word we bear witness to the incredible personality that was Sandra Vernon. In the last days friends and neighbours have variously said:
“The coolest 74 year old I ever knew.”
“A mischievous grin and hunger for fun.”
“A vital energetic force that came along and got things done.”
“A 2nd Mammy & a 2nd Granny’’
Sandra’s arrival into Leitrim in the 1970’s was noted by all who made her acquaintance and her integration into the community was to become absolute. As a founding member of the Solas Art Gallery in Ballinamore, Sandra partook of meetings in the back of Smyth's pub when a small group of people sat around a table and formed the structure that would become Solas Gallery.
Her lifetime of experience in the arts world was invaluable to the group and the bar was set high from the early days.
Far from being an elitist, Sandra encouraged all artists of all backgrounds and all abilities. She was a fantastic icon and mentor to many.
One of her quests in life was to ensure artists had a right to have a space to exhibit. She ran a tight ship when it came to the public relations side of the gallery and was very much into the etiquette of how a gallery should be run.
She encouraged them to be the best they could be and would offer advice and practical assistance as well as letting them know (as only she could) when they weren't working to their full potential.
Sandra had a distinctive aura about her that made for very enlightening company.
She had a great appreciation of and connection to nature; she was devoted to her much loved pets and a very keen gardener. Many of her works took inspiration from one or both of these.
Right to the end through her struggle with illnesses, she continued to put forward defiantly her cause and reasons for self expression. These were all encapsulating for everyone to experience.
On behalf of Solas Gallery and everyone that knew her, Sandra was one of the greats and will leave a void that will never be filled.
Funeral arrangements: Repose at St. Patrick's’ Hospital, Carrick on Shannon from 6pm - 8pm on today, 11th May and removal to Cavan Crematorium on Thursday at 12 midday, for cremation at 2pm.
l The editor of the Leitrim Observer, on behalf of staff and management, would also like to pass on our sympathies to Sandra's family on her passing.
Sandra has been a wonderful friend to the paper over the last 20 years and more, promoting the arts on all occasions but always with a smile and a laugh.
Tributes flowed into social media over the weekend demonstrating how many lives this wonderful woman touched.
She will be sorely missed, not just by her family, but anyone who had the good fortune to make her acquaintance.