She was one of the strongest, funniest, kindest women I've ever known. When she made dinner she put extra on and fed half the street and it took her 2 hours to walk the 10 minutes to work because she met everyone on the way and listened to all their problems - then went off and tried to fix them.
She was one of those old Republicans. A former political prisoner in Armagh, she had balls of steel and to the day she died she was unwavering in her beliefs. She absolutely never changed. Her humour and gegs belied her sharp political mind and I often sought her analysis - and she was never far wrong. She was the shrewdest judge of situation and character.
30 years ago she was trudging the streets to build the Irish language community in Ardoyne and hoofing her own child across town on buses to the nearest bunscoil because, a Gael to the back bone, she wanted to ensure her wee daughter had the gift of our language.
She was a founding member of Ardoyne Women's Group and the impact she made on women and their families, particularly during and after the Holy Cross attacks, in that community over the years is immeasurable. I saw her go into the middle of riots to try and keep our young people safe right up until a few years ago - with no regard for herself. She always wanted to make things better for the people of Ardoyne and they've lost a real champion.
Her whole world was family and Niamh McCann was at the centre of that world. Everything she did, she did for Niamh who has not only lost her ma, but her confidante and best friend.
Her passing wasn't easy and if I could have, I'd have taken some of her pain to repay her for her friendship to me.
God bless you, Colette. You were one in a million.