Kathleen Brown, former chairman of the Kingfisher Trust charity, which runs the Kingfisher Cafe in West Street, providing food, shelter and friendship to the town’s homeless, has died after a battle with cancer.
Earlier this month she was given a Citizen of Honour Award by Bridlington Town Council in recognition of what she has done for others and for the town.
Tributes have been paid by colleagues and Bridlington’s mayor to the woman her family and friends say fought her terminal illness to the end.
Her daughter Jeanette, an outdoor learning co-ordinator at Bempton School, said Kathleen, 71, had known about her illness for more than a year but carried on her work at the trust until around August this year when she had to step down.
“She was very proud to receive the Citizenship Award but always told us she did not quite understand why she got it.
“As far as she was concerned she did not do anything that any normal person would have done. She was a very brave lady right up to the end,” said Jeanette.
Kathleen was born in Brid- lington and juggled her responsibilities as a mother with working as a lollipop lady in Quay Road and working nights at the former Sara Lee factory at Carnaby to help make ends meet.
In later life she developed Multiple Sclerosis, but that did not stop her helping others. Among her many activities she taught art and crochet work for MIND at the Old Parcels Office in Bridlington and became an active member of the Bridlington branch of the University of the Third Age, U3A. Around this time she became involved with the Kingfisher charity.
“She was very much part of our family. Her six grandchildren all loved her.
“They used to call her Grandma Bus. She was always taking them all on trips out but as she didn’t drive, she took them everywhere by bus,” said Jeanette. Close friend and a fellow Trustee of the Kingfisher Trust, Bridlington artist Rosie Abraham, said: “She had a remarkable empathy with the homeless men and occasionally women we helped, who really loved her.
“She was no softie, but she was generous. She would often say to them, right, now give me a hug and could always see things very clearly. There will be a big hole left where Kathleen was.”
Coun John Copsey, Mayor of Bridlington, said: “She was a terrific person, not just for the work she did for the Kingfisher Trust but for lots of other charities as well. She will be sadly missed.”
Kathleen died last Monday in Bridlington Hospital.
She leaves a daughter, Jeanette, son Malcolm and six grandchildren.
Her funeral service was at St John’s Burlington Methodist Church on Tuesday, followed by cremation at Octon crematorium.