Tributes to community character who worked hard to better her neighbourhood

Marjorie Matthews
Marjorie Matthews
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Tributes have been paid to a community stalwart who devoted decades of her life to Millfield.

Marjorie Matthews, 82, was a well-known character in the area, and was a member of a number of groups, including the residents’ association.

On the campaign to save Crowtree.

On the campaign to save Crowtree.

The mum-of-four, of Aiskell Street, was well-known for speaking her mind and would regularly write into the Echo letters page and ring local radio stations to voice her concerns over community issues.

Taking to the streets, she would often canvas the opinion of residents over issues such as road humps and helping to save Barbara Priestman School, gathering hundreds of signatures to marshall support for issues affecting them.

Such was her strength of feeling Margaret, who’d campaigned to try to save Crowtree Leisure Centre, also ran in local elections to represent various wards.

Her family say they are devastated by her death, after the mum passed away due to pneumonia following an operation last Thursday, but proud that she made such a difference in her community.

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Daughter Lorraine, 57, said: “She had a real passion for politics, we always said she should be a politician.

“She was a huge fan of the Echo and had subscribed to it for as long as I can remember. She never missed a night and would always write in to the letters page.”

Marjorie’s first brush with campaigning was in 1960 when she wrote to Woman’s Own magazine about midwifery services at Sunderland Royal Hospital, which led to a full investigation.

The pensioner also threw herself into fundraising and in 2003 she abseiled down the National Glass Centre to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

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Lorraine added: “She was a real character, very funny, and loved a party. She would go to Steels Social Club about three times a week, and RAOB in Rutland Street. She was also honourary secretary of the Overseas Buffaloes Association.”

After leaving Bede Grammar School and working as a civil servant, Marjorie became well-known for running the Hylton Stores shop in Hylton Road, which she ran for more than 30 years with her husband Paul, who died five years ago.

Marjorie’s youngest daughter Fiona, 43, said: “She loved logic and helping people in solving problems to deal with trading standards and Sunderland Council.

“She took a Mensa test in 1987 and at the time they said she was in the top three percent most intelligent people in England. She was very proud of that.”

Lorraine added: “She’d gone into hospital for a hip operation but had some complications and developed pneumonia. It was a shock, but she died peacefully.”

As well as Lorraine and Fiona, Marjorie leaves Lesley, 59, seven grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.

Marjorie also had a son, Eden, who died when he was 57.

l Marjorie’s funeral will take place at Sunderland Crematorium on Thursday, March 3 at 10am. The wake will take place afterwards at the RAOB club in Rutland Street.