Tributes to North East Autism Society 'mother figure' Sue Gargett who died after contracting coronavirus

An “invaluable” member of a North East charity team who died after contracting coronavirus has been remembered by colleagues for her support, kindness and professionalism.
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Sue Gargett, 53, worked for the North East Autism Society (NEAS) for nearly three years and was described as a “mother figure” to colleagues.

She died in the University Hospital of North Durham, after being taken ill with Covid-19 at Easter.

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Sue worked as a specialist in NEAS’s Employment Futures team, preparing service-users for work, and helping them with suitable job opportunities.

Sue Gargett became ill with the virus at around Easter time.Sue Gargett became ill with the virus at around Easter time.
Sue Gargett became ill with the virus at around Easter time.

Derek Groves, Employment Services Manager for NEAS, said: “Sue was an invaluable team player, who was always ready to jump to the support of her colleagues whenever it was needed.

“She was successful in helping some service-users get their first paid jobs and she loved being able to do that.

“She was so emotionally involved in her role – she’d be ecstatic if ever someone got a job.”

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Before joining NEAS, Sue had spent around 10 years at East Durham College, working with people with special educational needs.

Mr Groves went on to say that Sue was “highly respected” across the organisation due to her experience and professionalism.

He added: “She was a mother figure to younger members of the team and will be a huge miss.”

Sue, who had an underlying health condition, is survived by husband Ian and grown up, adopted son, Andrew.

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She will be remembered at a private family funeral on Wednesday, May 20.

John Phillipson, Chief Executive of NEAS, added: “Sue was a lovely person and my last conversation with her was about how she wanted to run a social group for adults in her own time in the evenings.

“It was that kind of support and initiative that summed up her special qualities.”

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She dedicated 18 years of her life to supporting the charity. She was 66 when she died.

It is not known how either of the women, who worked separately, contracted the virus and Mr Phillipson said no other staff who had been close to them had shown any symptoms of the disease.

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