Toon toast memory of tea lady
SHE became the “Magpie mum” after working as the legendary tea lady at St James’ Park for over 50 years.
And now Kath Cassidy’s family are saying a big thank you to the club she loved after black and white bosses unveiled a touching tribute to her.
Before the Watford game yesterday, 16 members of Kath’s clan raised their tea cups in memory of her after the club renamed the refurbished catering area in the press suite, where she served more than 122,000 cups of tea during her career, as “Kath’s Kitchen”. Kath retired in 2015 after serving beverages to hundreds of players, managers and journalists at the ground since the early 1960s.
Kath, from Wallsend, North Tyneside, died in March this year at the age of 90.
But her memory will live on at the club after bosses decided to name their new kitchen after Kath, cementing her time there in history.
Kath worked in a number of jobs, including in a court, as well as raising her six children before clinching her position at St James’ Park.
There, the great grandmother worked under 26 different managers, including Kevin Keegan, Sam Allardyce and Alan Pardew, before retiring after 53 years due to ill health. The Cassidy family in the newly-decorated Kath’s Kitchen at St James’ Park She worked in the press suite on match days and became a popular figure with the local media.
And Kath even made a cameo appearance during a club press conference in 2005, under then-manager Graeme Souness. It was when Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer were forced into making a public apology after being sent off for fighting during Newcastle’s 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa.
Kath’s son Terry, 50, of Wallsend, was joined by a bunch of proud relatives in Kath’s Kitchen as they remembered the happy times she spent serv- ing her famous tea. Terry said: “It is incredible what the club has done for her. It is a very proud moment for us. Mam had so much love for the club and everyone there had so much love for her. It is absolutely fantastic that the kitchen has been named after her. Mam would be beside herself.
“We all met in the kitchen before the game and mam was right there with us, orchestrating everything, as she always did. She would have been right in the middle of it all, doing what she did best.
“It was very emotional, it’s now called Kath’s Kitchen and a big picture of mam, with her black and white scarf, hanging on the wall. She worked there for so long, she was part of the furniture. It really is incredible.”
A spokesman for Newcastle United said: “Kath was such an enormous personality and much-loved by the hundreds of journalists and club staff.
“We’ve always devoted part of the media suite to displaying Kath’s beloved photos of her with the many managers and players she met over the years, and now we’re delighted to pay tribute to her more permanently.”