A COMMUNITY is mourning the shock death of a popular barmaid, less than two months after she retired from work.
Jackie Summerside died suddenly on Sunday, May 12, after suffering a massive heart attack at her home in Annie Street, Fulwell.
She finished serving at the Blue Bell pub at the end of March, after almost 20 years.
Jackie, 64, has been described as an icon of the area, always taking time to talk to the scores of people she knew.
“She was everybody’s favourite aunty and sister,” said Linda Charlton, 51, landlady at the Blue Bell.
“She didn’t really have any family of her own, but we were her family.
“We’ve had people aged from 20 all the way up to 80 coming into the pub in utter disbelief that she has died. Lads saying ‘She served me my first pint,’ and things like that.
“Jackie was very good at her job and you could just leave her to get on with things behind the bar if you had to.
“But she had a big heart, the biggest you can imagine. You’d laugh and cry with her.”
Jackie began working at the Fulwell Road pub after having worked as a mobile hairdresser and at a chemist.
Around the time she began at the Blue Bell, her husband, Brian, died.
Tracy Farnie, 42, another colleague of Jackie’s at the pub, spoke of the bond she and many others had with Jackie.
“She was our second mam, that’s how we all felt about her,” she said.
“One of my neighbours had known her for 40 years and is devastated.”
Alison Smith, 46, who also works at the Blue Bell, said: “Even though she’d retired a few months ago she’d still come in to see us all the time.
“Nobody ever had a bad word to say about her.”
Jackie’s funeral takes place at Sunderland Crematorium on Tuesday at 3pm, after which a wake will be held at the Blue Bell. “We are going to celebrate her life as best as we can,” added Linda. “She really was the Queen of the Blue Bell.”