A CHURCH congregation turned out to say a final goodbye to a pastor who devoted more than half of her life to a community.
The funeral of Cynthia McLaren was held yesterday following her death at the age of 78.
Mrs McLaren was a popular figure in Burton, having served as reverend at the Triumphant Church of God, in South Uxbridge Street, for around 40 years.
Described as an ‘irreplaceable mum’ who always had a smile on her face and would do anything to help anyone, her family said she died peacefully in her sleep.
Members of her family and some of the many friends she had made down the years attended her funeral at All Saints Church, in Branston.
Mrs McLaren was born in Jamaica, moving to Burton in the 1950s.
She worked as a seamstress before turning to the church in the early 70s, following in the footsteps of her mother, who was also a pastor.
Daughter Helene Honeyghan, one of 12 children, said: “She always had a smile on her face. Sometimes we would ask her why she was smiling and she would say ‘am I smiling?’ – she didn’t realise.
“She was always willing to help anybody, even when she was feeling poorly, it wouldn’t stop her from visiting people.”
As somebody who was passionate about her faith, Mrs McLaren was also known to other religious leaders in the region.
Mrs Honeyghan said: “She was very dedicated, she travelled to many countries preaching the word of God.
“She was well known by some of the churches in the area. I remember during the 80s and 90s, whenever they would gather she would always be there, wanting to know what was happening. She loved the church, it was her life.”
When not performing her duties at the church, Mrs McLaren would normally be spending time with her rather large family.
As well as 12 children, she had 40 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
“She always loved to be around her family,” Mrs Honeyghan said.
Members of the community were quick to pay their respects following news of Mrs McLaren’s death.
“She had a lot of friends, everyone knew the name McLaren.” Mrs Honeyghan said. “Every night this house has been packed with people coming to show their respect. She will be greatly missed.”