Family pay tribute to Sunderland gran as they look for answers over her death from inquest hearing

The loved ones of a Sunderland grandmother have paid tribute as they say they hope to get answers from an inquest into her hospital death.

Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 5:52 pm

Joan Surtees, 73, from Grangetown, died in Sunderland Royal Hospital on Saturday, July 4, last year after she was admitted the Sunday before after fracturing her hip in a fall at home.

Her family say Joan, who had lived with the lung condition emphysema for many years, “seemed happy in herself and looked quite healthy” following an op, but her condition deteriorated and she died on one it its wards.

An inquest into her death is due to be held at Sunderland Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, April 20, at the city’s civic centre, led by assistant senior coroner Karin Welsh.

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Joan Surtees, who died aged 73, pictured with husband Alan.

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Ahead of the hearing, her family has paid tribute to Joan, who was married to Alan, 75, and was one of seven sisters and seven brothers.

She was mum to Alan, 57, and Michelle Ritchie, 54, and had three grandchildren.

Before retirement she worked at The Ropery in Hendon, Jackson’s the tailors in Grangetown, served as a home help in the community for a decade and worked at Hyers Clothing, later to become Steve’s Clothing, in Leechmere.

Joan and Alan Surtees with her sister Jane-Anne and the Surtees' son, Alan, at a family gathering.

Michelle, who now lives in Derby and will attend the hearing, said: “We’re just looking for answers, to find out why my mam died.

"She had emphysema for years but could cope fine.

"A lad came to the door once and asked if she had it, because his dad had just been diagnosed, and she told him to make sure he lived his life.

Joan Surtees loved spending time with her family and especially enjoyed visiting restaurants with her loved ones.

"She thought 'my life has stopped’ and that’s what would kill her, but she did still have a good life and she would be happy pottering at home.

“She was a family-orientated person, she enjoyed meals out with her brothers and sisters for birthdays.

"She like to socialise with friends at the Hendon Grange where on a couple of occasions they all went on holiday together to Spain ‘on the bus’.

Joan Surtees loved to travel, taking holidays in the UK and abroad.

"She also liked holidays with my Dad and liked to holiday in the Isle of Wight with her cousin Edna.

"In later life her and my Dad enjoyed holidays in the south coast at Brighton and Bournemouth and he also liked to spend time with us in Derby.”

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Joan Surtees, second left with her sisters Martha, Jane-Anne, Edna-May, Sadie and Nobie.