Toon toast mem­ory of tea lady

Sunday Sun - - News - By Lisa Hutchin­son Re­porter lisa.hutchin­son@ncj­me­dia.co.uk

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.”

SIMON GREENER

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