Touching tributes paid following death of 'extraordinary' Sunderland councillor Doris Turner

Touching tributes have been paid following the death of an “extraordinary” Sunderland councillor and community stalwart.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 3:22 pm
Doris Turner devoted much of her life to helping others on Wearside

Doris Turner devoted much of her life to helping others on Wearside and in particular the Hetton area where she lived.

After a brave battle with cancer in recent months, she passed away peacefully at home on July 15 aged 81.

Doris was first elected as a city councillor in May 2015 and served as a Labour Party representative for the Hetton ward.

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Doris Turner.

Alongside a key role as chair of the council’s Economic Prosperity Scrutiny Committee on Sunderland City Council, she was also a devoted fan of Sunderland AFC, a town councillor and former Mayor of Hetton Town Council.

As news of her death was announced last week, tributes poured in across social media recognising the councillor’s service to the community.

A family obituary described Doris as “the much-loved mam of Alan, David and Andrew. The devoted wife of the late Maurice, formerly of Ken. A cherished gran and great-gran. A dear mother-in-law, aunt and friend of many.”

Son Alan Seymour said he was blown away with the tributes and that his mum would be missed.

“She had a heart of gold and a real vitality for life, she would have done anything for anybody,” he said.

“If someone was struggling she was always there and she really cared, not only for her family but for the wider community, her neighbours, colleagues and local organisations, which was a lot.

“She will be a big miss.”

Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, credited Doris for being “truly passionate about the Hetton ward and its residents.”

The MP added: “She was a committed public servant and a credit to our local Labour Party.”

A post on the ‘Hetton Labour’ Facebook page described Doris as a “vociferous activist for the people of Hetton-Le-Hole and passionate believer in Labour aims and values.”

Deputy leader of Sunderland City Council and Hetton ward councillor, Claire Rowntree, added she was “deeply saddened” by the news.

“My deepest condolences are with her family and loved ones,” she said.

“Doris was an extraordinary woman whose kindness and dedication to her community knew no bounds. She was a strong advocate who was loved and respected by all who knew her.

“I am grateful for her support, everything she taught me and for being a warm guiding light through some difficult times.

“Most of all I am grateful for her friendship.”

Leader of the Sunderland Conservatives on Sunderland City Council, councillor Antony Mullen, also paid tribute in a Facebook post.

He said: “This is tragic news and our thoughts are with [her] friends and family at this very sad time.

“Many in the Labour Party will be devastated by her loss and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.”

Meanwhile, Conservative councillor and Economic Prosperity Scrutiny Committee member, Michael Dixon, said he would always remember his detailed discussions with Doris about Sunderland AFC.

“Doris travelled all over the country to support her beloved team and the first person you would see when entering the Eppleton CW ground to watch Sunderland Reserves was Doris selling raffle tickets,” he said, paying tribute in a Facebook post.

“I will miss our chats very much.”

Hetton Town Council lowered its flags in Hetton Mini Park to half-mast as a mark of respect following news of the councillor’s death.

Doris Turner’s funeral will take place at the Union Street Methodist Church, Hetton-le-Hole on Thursday July 29 at 10am, with a committal to follow in Durham Crematorium.

Donations will be kindly received at the church for the work of Parkinsons UK Sunderland, St Benedicts Hospice Ryhope and Marie Curie.

All are welcome afterwards to Hetton Lyons Cricket Club.

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