IRISH Curling has lost one of its foundation stones, with the passing of Liz Knox.
Liz, who died on the evening of Friday, June 24, at the age of 85, was part of the original group of curlers who initially formed the Northern Ireland Curling Association, after playing together at Gogar Ice Rink in December 1993, which grew into the all-Ireland organisation we know today.
It was just a couple of months ago she enjoyed a fabulous birthday party surrounded by her family and closest friends in the village of Gateside, where she had lived and held court with all who called, for over a decade.
There are so many wonderful attributes that were part and parcel of Liz, so we’ll list some of them in this tribute, beginning with her open-house hospitality.
If there was a competition on at nearby Greenacres, the Irish party was on at her house. Wherever the Four Nations was being held, the drinks were in Liz’s room. At the annual Stranraer weekend she was, for many, many years, at the heart of the social whirl there. Curling, chatting, drinking, laughing and of course, selling copious amounts of raffle tickets for ICA funds.
One shining example of her open-doors policy for anyone was the night the Irish teams heading to the Europeans in Switzerland in 2010 had their fights delayed. Left with the prospect of the cold airport floor for the night, Liz and her co-host and dear friend, Carolyn Hibberd, got a message out to the lost souls that the fire was roaring, the wine decanted, a brace of pheasants roasting away nicely and the beds warming at Rosedene.
With little notice the ‘Gateside Two’ had conjured up a feast fit for royalty and a memorable evening ensued with Liz the conductor of it all into the wee small hours of the morning.
We will also remember her immense kindness, her sense of fairness, her respect for tradition, the proper way of doing things and her stoicism and resilience whatever life threw at her.
She was proud of her international cap for Ireland when she played in the 2007 World Senior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, when she travelled as the alternate in the late Fiona Turnbull’s team.
Liz forged great friendships with those ‘Irish girls’ over the years, with Carolyn of course, and also with Kathie Nixon and the late Isobel Fyfe and Fiona Turnbull. They enjoyed their annual lunch gatherings and with Liz in full flow the conversation was always sparkling. The lot of them could also make a fair ol’ dent in a bottle of ‘Isobel’s recipe’ which was not for anyone with a delicate digestive system.
We shall miss Liz Knox and her megawatt smile, her twinkling eyes and her voice. Oh, we shall miss her melodious, contralto voice, which always sounded like she had been gargling with teak oil.
Rest in peace Liz, you have enriched all our lives and will remain etched in our Irish hearts.
Carolyn knew Liz better than anyone and adds this personal tribute to her friend and fellow original ICA member:
“Gateside Village will be a lonelier place for many people with the
passing of Liz.
“For over forty years we have been friends and neighbours. Curling was
our glue, playing together with the local Ladies Club and in mixed
weekends with our husbands. Many social evenings were spent on the ice followed by some food, a few drams, lots of stories and laughter with
the neighbours. When the ICA began we both proudly became founder
members and that gave Liz wonderful new experiences and special
“Liz was a gifted hostess, a splendid cook and an entertaining guest. The
family had a special way of bringing together friends with different
interests and hobbies and making everyone feel so much at ease and very
“The Knoxs’ and their constant Labrador companions spent many happy
holidays in Orkney, and fishing, shooting and Pony Club were also much
enjoyed family activities. Liz was a constant valued supporter
throughout her beloved daughters Ailie and Lorna and granddaughters
Georgia and Thandi’s Pony Club days.
“After the passing of Hugh, Liz eventually moved from the family farm to
the heart of the village where she was surrounded by friends. She loved
her garden and spent many happy hours in her summer house. Even in her
last few weeks Liz hosted a splendid birthday party lunch and attended
the village Jubilee Picnic. She never lost her zest for life.
“Liz will be very much missed by her family and by all whose lives she
touched. We all feel sad now but we will remember the fun times.
“That’s what Liz would want.”