Tributes paid to Connie, who died at 108

Connie Mossman. Picture by Jane Coltman
Connie Mossman. Picture by Jane Coltman

Northumberland’s oldest woman, who passed away on Christmas Eve aged 108, has been described as an absolute legend and a lovely lady who always had a smile on her face.

Much-loved Connie Mossman, from Amble, died peacefully in Alnwick Infirmary. Her funeral was held at Amble’s St Cuthbert’s Church on Tuesday.

Connie Mossman in her younger days.

Connie Mossman in her younger days.

The centenarian was mum to Gwen Turnbull, as well as a loving grandma of three and great grandma of six.

Connie was one of the 40 oldest people in Britain and the oldest person in Northumberland.

She was born in Amble on February 7, 1907, and lived there most of her life. She had one brother, Robert, and two sisters, Irene and Gwenyth, who are all deceased.

Her mother, Annie Ribena Aston, was a seamstress who worked for Bainbridges in Newcastle, while her father Isaac was chief cook at the officer’s mess at the former RAF Acklington base.

Connie Mossman with her daughter Gwen Turnbull. Picture by Jane Coltman

Connie Mossman with her daughter Gwen Turnbull. Picture by Jane Coltman

One of Connie’s earliest memories was seeing the troops marching down Queen Street, in Amble, before heading off to fight in the First World War.

She worked in Mr Smith’s shoe shop, which was next to the Dock Hotel, until she married Jim in Broomhill in 1933. He passed away in 1976.

Connie put her secret of long life down to eating healthily and lots of exercise.

In the summer of 2014, she was one of around 70 one-hundred-year-olds who attended a special party at The Alnwick Garden to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

Connie enjoyed playing bingo, reading, doing crosswords and pottering around in the garden.

She marked her 108th birthday with a quiet, family celebration.

News of her death has devastated those who knew and loved her and tributes have poured in for Connie on our Facebook page.

Among the messages of condolence, Claire Shiels said: ‘Absolute legend. Bye for now Aunty Con xx’.

Jimmy Turnbull wrote: ‘One of the most important and loved people in my life. Sleep well grandma, love you xx.’

Karen Hope added: ‘True legend in Amble. God love her always smiling. RIP Connie, thoughts are with your family xx’ and Ena Whinham Connor posted: ‘She was a lovely lady and loved her dancing RIP xx.’

In 2011, Connie, aged 104 at the time, hit the headlines after she became embroiled in an asbestos nightmare.

She faced a desperate battle to knock down the shed in the back garden of her Amble home because of the structure’s asbestos roof, and she had struggled to find anyone who could remove it.

But after the Gazette revealed her ordeal, a company from Killingworth stepped in to help, offering to do the work for free and ending her asbestos troubles.

Here are some of the heartfelt tributes paid to Connie, which have been left by Gazette readers.

Maureen Johnson: ‘Wonderful lady RIP’

Lynne Tate: ‘Amazing lady. Will be sadly missed by her family.’

Sandra Belisle: ‘She was a lovely lady. Bless her always had a smile for you xx’

Rebecca Lambert: ‘Secret of life...that Amble sea air. Fantastic age to live to...hope she had a good life xxx’

Isabell Punton Farrar: ‘Connie was a lovely lady.’

Roy Inglis: ‘Will always be a legend in Amble, sweetest lady you could meet.’

Rachel Cook: ‘Such a shame. She was a lovely lady. Thoughts are with the family xx’

Jane Coltman: ‘I had the privilege of meeting Connie a few times over the years while covering her birthdays for the Gazette - I always came away smiling after meeting her - a really lovely lady.’

Tracey Priest: ‘Very sad news, what a lovely lady she was x’

Maureen Lydon: ‘What a legend. With God now. She has earned her peace.’

Joy Bowman: ‘God bless. My thoughts and prayers are with all the family xxx’