Husband’s tribute after death of former mayoress
TRIBUTES have been paid following the death of a community stalwart and former mayoress of Rossendale.
Dorothy Atkinson ran the popular Bacon Butty Shop on Hud Hey Road in Haslingden for 22 years until 1993 when her husband Geoffrey became Mayor of Rossendale.
The great-grandmother later served as a Labour councillor in the Greenfield ward in the 1990s, and after her retirement donated her time to several organisations across the Valley.
Dorothy, of Hud Hey Road, Haslingden, suffered a fractured hip in August after a fall and passed away at Royal Blackburn Hospital on Wednesday, November 1 after a short battle with pneumonia. She was 85.
Her husband of 65 years Geoffrey said she was a ‘wonderful and caring person’.
He said: “It was a shock when she died. She was developing dementia but she still had control of it and enjoyed life. She had a fall in August and fractured her hip. It stemmed from there. She developed pneumonia.
“She loved being out with people, travelling and keeping busy.
“She loved helping people and was a wonderful person with a good sense of humour. She was a very caring person and looked out for people. We have had a lot of cards and messages. She will be remembered and missed by a lot of people.”
Dorothy moved to Rossendale from Yorkshire in the 1970s and initially worked as a machinist in Clayton-le-Moors. She then ran the popular Bacon Butty shop which won a reputation as having the ‘best bacon butties in the country’.
Retired university research technician Geoffrey, 89, said: “My wife enjoyed working there and meeting lots of people. It was quite a popular place and we had lots of regular customers. She also really loved being the Mayoress and we went to all sorts of events.”
Dorothy served as a governor at Hillside Nursery School in Haslingden for more than 15 years and later became chair of governors.
Vicky Gamble, a teaching assistant at Hillside Nursery School, said: “She was chair of governors here for quite a few years.
“She was also a personal friend of my parents so I knew her on a personal level. When she was chair of governors she was very dedicated and put 100 per cent into everything she did. She did such a lot for the community. She was really hard working and very well respected. She did a lot for the nursery and really did care about the staff and the children here.”
Former headteacher Lyn Dawber said Dorothy supported the school with enthusiasm, caring and knowledge, and extended “sincere condolences”.
She added: “Her contributions I’m sure still help to sustain the school. She was steadfast in her support to me personally and in my role of headteacher, always at the end of the phone in times of need.
“She gave the school many hours of her precious time, which all the staff, parents and community greatly appreciated.
“I have very fond memories of her.”
Dorothy was heavily involved in the Friends of Rossendale Museum, Friends of Bocholt, Rossendale Russian Association, the RAFT Foundation and the Haslingden Oxfam shop.
Rossendale council leader Alyson Barnes said: “I’ve known Dorothy and Geoff for very many years and they are absolutely lovely people.
“They carried on caring for their community long after they stopped being councillors. It’s such sad news about Dorothy and she will be sadly missed by people in Haslingden particularly.”
She leaves husband Geoffrey, daughter Christine, son Phillip and his wife Joan, four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and son-in-law David. Her daughter Julie, predeceased her, as did her son-in-law Alan.
Her funeral service will be held on Monday, November 13, at 2.20pm at Accrington Crematorium and 3pm at St James’ Church, Haslingden.
●● Dorothy and Geoffrey Atkinson pictured at their 60th wedding celebrations