A fitting tribute to everyone’s friend

Dorothy Clifford
Dorothy Clifford
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A PENSIONER has been blown away by the support given in memory of his wife – all the way from Wales.

Brian Clifford, of Rothbury, was left heartbroken when his wife of 47 years, Dorothy, known as Dot, 70, died from stomach cancer in October 2010.

But he was left gob-smacked when friends and colleagues at Dot’s former workplace in Aberystwyth decided to raise money for a North East charity in her memory.

Brian, 72, and Dot, lived on the west coast of Wales for around 20 years after moving there for Brian’s job.

At the time Dot, worked part-time at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. She kept in touch when the couple moved to Rothbury in 2007.

Dot was diagnosed with cancer in January 2010 and died nine months later.

She was treated at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, home to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

When she died, the family asked for donations to be made to the charity in lieu of flowers.

But the arts centre took the request further. It decided to raise money throughout the summer season, and raised a massive £2,242.50.

“I was absolutely amazed at what they did,” Brian said. “I didn’t appreciate how much she meant to people. She only worked part-time at the arts centre but she loved it, theatre was her life and she spent most of her time up there.

“She just spent her time doing what she loved.

“When she was ill she was treated so well at the Freeman that she wanted donations made to the foundation. She also received wonderful treatment at our community hospital in Rothbury. They were wonderful. She was there such a short time but still nurses from there came to her funeral.

“Dot was always everyone’s best friend, and the last thing to go was her smile. When I found out about the arts centre’s plans I was astounded.

“They invited me up for the opening night, which was Chess. I thought it was just going to be for one night, but it went on until December.

“It was the first time I had been back to the theatre, and Aberystwyth, because I couldn’t face it before.

“I thought it was just the most wonderful thing possible. I couldn’t imagine that she was loved so much and held in such regard. It has been such a comfort for the family.”

Dot was known as Granny Dot by her four grandchildren, and found out her fifth was on the way before she died.

The couple moved to Rothbury to be closer to son Steven who lives at Netherwitton. Their daughter Laura lives in Bristol.

The couple also had a link to Sir Bobby.

Brian added: “Dot had terrific regard for Sir Bobby and so did I. He used to manage Ipswich Town which was my team. After I retired I started to do consultancy work and one trip brought me up to St James’ Park.

“He was manager there at the time and we were in the cafe at lunchtime, as I had taken Dot with me. I saw him in there and we had a chat with him, he was a brilliant man, completely engaging. And Dot loved it.”