Tributes to 'adored' former Sunderland councillor Celia Gofton from daughter Lauren Laverne

Tributes have been paid to “adored” former Sunderland city councillor Celia Gofton following her death on Friday.

By Newsroom
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 11:31 am
Updated Saturday, 25th June 2022, 11:47 am

Her daughter, BBC presenter Lauren Laverne, said she is “utterly heartbroken” to lose the “most compassionate and most tenacious person I have ever met”.

Celia, also known as Cecilia, served the Pallion ward as a Labour councillor from 2006-18 and was also a member of the council’s cabinet.

Lauren said in a lengthy social media tribute on Instagram on Saturday: "Yesterday I lost my Mam, Celia. She was the kindest, most compassionate and most tenacious person I have ever met.

Former Sunderland councillor Celia Gofton.

"Born in the middle of nine kids, she was a master peacemaker and persuader.

"She passed her 11+ and went to grammar school which changed our family's direction forever.

"Met my sad at 16 and loved him every day of her life.

"She ran the only reggae club night in the NE and told me that being young in the 60s felt like that line in Mr Tambourine Man "to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free".

Celia's daughter, Lauren Laverne.

"She worked as a seamstress and a casino dancer (also making costumes for the troupe) to pay her way through college and became a wonderful teacher, eventually managing all Sunderland's colleges.

"Somewhere along the line she had me and my brother and got political (she once chased someone from the BNP down our garden path with a rolling pin in one hand and me in the other arm) protested at Greenham Common and eventually became a city councillor."

Desert Island Discs host Laverne added that her mum "delighted" in helping people and thanked the teams at University College London Hospital who cared for her at the end of her life.

"She had watched so many decades of history documentaries that when we met historian Michael Wood they chatted away like colleagues.

"She loved children and was the most devoted and adored mother and grandmother you could ever meet.

"But she also knew that mother is a verb as well as a noun and mothered so many others along the way who needed love and support throughout her life.

"Thank you to them for everything.

"We are all utterly heartbroken to lose her.

"She had just given the kids their Glastonbury spending money and was looking forward to watching Paulie (as he was always known in our house - her favourite Beatle) tonight.

"She'd been a fan ever since she saw him at the Sunderland Empire in 1963 (and later met him later with me - he was just lovely to her).

"Mam, I love you forever.

"Thank you for my fantastic life.

"I have no idea what I'm going to do without you, but I'm going to try to make it interesting and you will be in my heart, always."

She also thanked her "truly astounding" family, friends and colleagues for their support on Twitter.

Celebrity friends including Tom Grennan, Fearne Cotton and Sophie Ellis-Bextor were among those posting messages of condolence on Instagram.

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