Visiting Ashton’s Ladysmith Shopping Centre a few years ago you may have seen Doreen Stroud – or Dee to her friends – working hard cleaning the mall and maybe having a friendly chat with shoppers. In early June the news came that Dee had passed away after returning home following an operation to remove cancer.  For the many people who knew her and who had worked with her the news came as a sudden and terrible loss.

Lyn Williams, the former manager of Ladysmith Shopping Centre, who worked with Dee paid tribute saying: “Everyone loved Dee and she did a good job. She was willing to do anything, got on with the work straight away and was really well loved by all on the centre. The tenants loved her.”

Dee was a popular figure at Ashton’s Ladysmith Shopping Centre

Another friend and work colleague, Cliff Gibson, had kept in touch with Dee and found her passing a terrible blow. He said: “I’d worked with Dee for about 15 years, and I remember when she worked in a bookmakers before she started at the centre.  Even though some people treated her badly she didn’t have a bad word about anyone.  We had arguments but we remained firm friends, but you know, in all the years she never made me a brew, even picking her up sometimes and taking her to work, making her brew and then when it was her turn never got one. I miss her calls she rang every Sunday morning and I just think she had a brilliant heart. I’ve seen Dee give people her bus fare and she’s just walked home she was that kind of person.  I have happy memories of us working together and some trips taking her to Pendle a few times.”

Working at Ladysmith Dee made many friends, in particular with some of those working at shops in the centre. One of those, Joanne Osgood from Boots, became another close friend. “She’d give her last penny away even though she didn’t have much herself.  Everyone knew Dee at the Centre and she’d pop into Boots for a squirt of perfume and promote it during her work if people commented. She loved working at the centre and talking to people and that friendship lasted over 10 years with me talking to her every day. She was trustworthy, a good listener and never had a bad word to say about anyone. She just loved being everyone’s friend and was one of a kind.”

As editor of About Tameside I’ll add my condolences to her friends and family and finish with a phrase that many people have echoed in the past weeks. “Dee had a heart of gold, and we’ll miss her so much.  Enjoy your rest sweet lady.”