Avril Patterson


This is an exhibit of the life stories of Avril Patterson. Avril was born in 1931 and she was adopted by Lillian and William Eakin. She was reared in Belfast, although she was evacuated to Enniskillen during the second world war. Avril married and had one daughter, Pamela. Sadly her husband died when she was only 39 years old and Pamela was a young girl. Avril started work as a clerical assistant in the Antrim County Court House and ended her working life in an administrative role in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. Her stories describe her close relationship with her family, particularly her daughter Pamela and her grandchildren.


McTiernan, K. & O'Donnell, D. (2012). Life Histories Archive. http://www.lifehistoriesarchive.com/exhibits/show/avril-patterson


Childhood and Early Life

This section of the exhibit is concerned with the life stories, images and documents related to Avril's early life and childhood. Avril recalls the war years in Belfast and remembers being evacuated from the city during the Blitz. She remembers how she loved dancing when she was a child and she attended Lena Kings Dance school for ballet lessons and performances.

Adolescence and Early Adulthood

This section of the exhibit contains stories, images and documents relating to Avril's teenage years and her early adult life. Avril loved the outdoors and her pictures and stories describe the many outings she had with her friends on their bicycles. She has vivid memories of her time spent in Enniskillen during the war. She recalls some of her encounters with customs officials while crossing the border between Co. Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and Co. Cavan in the Irish Free State.

Marriage and Family

This section of the exhibit contains stories, pictures and documents which pertain to Avril's marriage and her family life. Avril had one daughter, Pamela and sadly her husband, Tom, died when Avril was only 39 years old. Avril is very close to Pamela and to her grandchildren. In this section Avril describes her quest to find her birth mother. She remembers meeting her birth siblings for the first time as an adult and she reflects upon the impact this meeting had on her adult life.

Work and Employment

This section of the exhibit contains stories, pictures and documents which refer to Avril's working life. Avril worked as a clerical officer in the Antrim County Court House and she recalls watching a prisoner be condemned to death. She also worked as a dental attendent before taking up employment in the Royal Victoria Hospital in administration.


This section of the exhibit contains stories and images which relate to Avril's retirement years. Avril enjoys travelling and has been to Canada and to Jerusalem. She also loves to work in her garden and to spend time with her pets.


This section of the exhibit contains some of Avril's reflections upon her long life. She shares some of the lessons she has learnt and her wisdom and insights too.