She was a cut above - trib­utes are paid to popular bar­ber Liz

COM­MU­NITY SHOCKED BY SUD­DEN DEATH AGED 55

The Chronicle - - News -

SHE was the popular bar­ber who cham­pi­oned her com­mu­nity and preached the mes­sage to “love, re­spect, and en­joy Culler­coats”.

Now, the vil­lage is in mourn­ing fol­low­ing the sud­den death of Van Gogh Bar­bers owner Liz Har­bron aged 55.

Liz was found dead at her home on Eleanor Street on Septem­ber 4 fol­low­ing a sud­den heart at­tack.

The close-knit com­mu­nity has ral­lied to sup­port her griev­ing son Iain, who has emo­tion­ally opened up on the tragic loss and the strength of good­will.

He said: “It’s hard to ac­tu­ally de­scribe right now. My feel­ings at the mo­ment are just numb.

“I’m not re­ally sure where I’m at, ev­ery day is blur­ring into one. You keep ex­pect­ing her to come back in.

“My mam was a ray of sun­light on a rainy day. She was al­ways happy.

“It was like turn­ing out a light, so she didn’t feel any pain.

“If there’s one thing I could do, it would be to say ‘I love you.’ We both were not big on say­ing that, but we knew it was un­con­di­tional.”

Mum-of-one Liz was born in Gateshead and raised her son Iain in New­big­gin Hall.

She op­er­ated Van Gogh Bar­bers out of North Shields for al­most two decades be­fore mov­ing to Culler­coats.

It was here she en­deared her­self to the com­mu­nity, hang­ing bunting in her street, dec­o­rat­ing the area with painted stones and spread­ing pos­i­tiv­ity by in­sist­ing she was “lucky” to live in the vil­lage.

Nestlé worker Iain, 36, said: “She loved the peo­ple – the fact it brought her closer to the com­mu­nity.

“She was a real peo­ple’s per­son. If she was not cut­ting hair, she was out on the street talk­ing to peo­ple and spread­ing her pos­i­tiv­ity.

“She al­ways tried to cover the dark­ness with her light.”

Fam­ily friend Sarah El­liott added: “Liz was a right char­ac­ter, re­ally quirky and ec­cen­tric. A cou­ple of friends have said she changed their life.

“It was all about mak­ing Culler­coats bet­ter. She had such a pos­i­tive en­ergy. Her death has come as an un­be­liev­able shock.”

Liz was also in­volved with the vil­lage’s fes­tive win­dow dec­o­ra­tions at Christ­mas, and en­joyed med­i­ta­tion and writ­ing classes as well as nights out with friends.

Flo­ral trib­utes have been laid out­side the fam­ily home, while Iain has been in­un­dated with cards con­tain­ing con­do­lences.

One sym­pa­thetic mes­sage read: “Culler­coats has a lost a re­ally good woman with a big heart and a lush sense of hu­mour.

“A woman who cared about her home and worked hard to pro­mote it and worked hard to im­prove the street she lived on. She will be sadly missed by all.”

Iain has thanked the com­mu­nity for ral­ly­ing to sup­port him and says the re­sponse he has re­ceived to the news is “mind­blow­ing”.

He added: “I knew she was well­known but I didn’t think it was as much as this.

“It’s been a wel­come dis­trac­tion. I’ve not been left alone with your thoughts on the re­al­ity and the ques­tions of ‘what if.’”

The com­mu­nity came to­gether to bid their good­byes to Liz at her fu­neral at Whit­ley Bay Cre­ma­to­rium yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Iain hopes to re­turn to col­lege soon and com­plete his bar­ber­ing NVQ qual­i­fi­ca­tion to re­open Van Gogh Bar­bers and pre­serve his mother’s legacy.

He fin­ished: “She will be a mas­sive miss - she was a big part of my life and now that’s gone.”

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to sup­port Iain and help to pay for the un­ex­pected fu­neral costs, and more than £300 has al­ready been raised.

To read more about the page and do­nate, visit www.gofundme. com/in-mem­ory-of-liz-har­bron.

Liz Har­bron was de­scribed as ‘a ray of sun­light on a rainy day’

Liz Har­bron

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