Tributes paid to Hartlepool champion Wendy

Tributes have been paid to one of Hartlepool's leading citizens who has died after a ten-year battle with cancer.

Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:23 pm
Freedom of the borough was granted in 2010 to former Hartlepool MP Lord Mandelson, Hartlepool Families First founder Wendy McLoughlin, Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, and cancer fundraiser Isobel Wilson.

The Right Honourable Wendy McLoughlin MBE, JP, Freeman of the Borough of Hartlepool, passed away at the University Hospital of North Tees on Thursday, November 11.

She was 71.

Wendy McLoughlin receives her MBE from the Queen.

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Born in Hartlepool hospital in July 1945, she grew up in Blackhall, before moving to West Hartlepool and attended Brougham and Dyke House School.

She and husband John celebrated their Golden Wedding last month. The couple lived in Seaton Carew for 50 years.

Mrs McLoughlin set up Hartlepool Opportunity Playgroup, Hartlepool Toy Library and Playbus in the early 1970s, which developed into what it is today Hartlepool Families First.

She was awarded a First Caring Award in 1989 and presented with her ‘carer of the year’ by actress Thora Hird.

Wendy and jJhn with her MBE.

She received a Glaxo, Smith and Kline Impact Award 2006 for Hartlepool Families First and collected her MBE from the Queen in November 2007 in recognition of services to disabled children.

Mayor of Hartlepool Coun Rob Cook said: “I was devastated to be informed of Wendy’s death.

“She worked tirelessly in a number of ways over many years to provide much-needed support to local families.

“Wendy commanded huge respect throughout the town and beyond and she will be sorely missed. I would like to pass on my heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time.”

Wendy with Thora Hird.

Mrs McLoughlin served as a Justice of the Peace in Hartlepool from 1996-2015.

Chairman of Hartlepool Magistrates Bench Martin Slimings said: “Her influence was such that she was very, very well-regarded, well-respected and other JPS liked to sit with her.

“She was respected by all the court users, the staff and solicitors. She was always very fair and just.

“We knew she had been ill for a number of years but it has still come as a great shock to the people that have known her so well..”

Wendy McLoughlin receives her MBE from the Queen.

Paul Thompson, from Hartlepool Families First, remembered a woman who had been an inspiration.

“When I first came into the sector at the age of 16, she was always around,” he said.

“She was a great mentor to people like me.

Although Wendy had cut down her role when she fell ill, she had still been a regular fixture with the charity: “The staff were very familiar with her.

“Everybody here has been hit hard by the news,” said Paul.

As well as her husband, Mrs McLoughlin is survived by daughters Joanne and Sharon and 22 nieces and nephews.

Wendy and jJhn with her MBE.

Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.

Wendy with Thora Hird.