Shock death of Pendleside Hospice worker Celia (54)

SAINT: Celia Alderson
SAINT: Celia Alderson

A SELFLESS woman who dedicated her life to caring for others has died aged 54.

Celia Alderson had become a familiar figure at Pendleside Hospice through her work with the Hospice at Home team.

She collapsed at home on Thursday, minutes after ringing to make an appointment to see her doctor and was dead within two hours, despite paramedics and medical teams at the Royal Blackburn Hospital trying to save her. Post-mortem tests will have to ascertain the cause of Mrs Alderson’s death. She had had a minor operation a week earlier and had complained of feeling unwell.

Her stunned family, husband Miles, daughter Amy (19) and son Gary (16) are being supported by friends and members of their church.

“We feel we have been robbed of the time we should have had,” said Mr Alderson. “Celia had a great faith, and that is a consolation, but it doesn’t take the hurt away.”

University student Amy had been due to move into a flat, and Gary has just started studies at Burnley College.

Mrs Alderson’s work with the hospice put her in contact with families with terminally ill loved ones, a role for which she felt she had a calling. “Her Christian faith motivated her,” said Mr Alderson. “She felt it was a role God had given her, and she did it amazingly. She touched everyone, and that is a comfort. I was married to a saint, and it is hard to let go.

“Celia loved being at Pendleside. She loved caring for people and helping them through difficult times. She touched a lot of people.” ¶

Pendleside Hospice clinical services manager Helen McVey paid tribute to Mrs Alderson on behalf of colleagues, saying: “We at Pendleside were deeply saddened to hear of Celia’s death; particularly those who worked closest with her.

“Celia was a highly-valued member of Pendleside’s hospice at home team and will be greatly missed. She was an exceptionally kind and caring nurse, who was respected by colleagues and spoken very highly of by those she cared for. Our thoughts are with her husband and children at this difficult time.”

Born in Shrewsbury, Mrs Alderson moved to the Rossendale Valley through her connection with Lumb Baptist Church and worked on a mental health ward at Burnley General Hospital before becoming a teaching assistant for children with special needs. She was also involved in the Prison Fellowship scheme at Strangeways jail working closely with the clergyman who was prison chaplain during the riots.

The Rev. Noel Proctor will give a eulogy at her funeral on Monday and Mrs Alderson’s family hope as many people as possible will be able to attend.

It will be conducted by the Rev. Neil Hepworth and the Rev. Steve Cobbin, beginning at 1-30pm, at Weir Baptist Church in the Doals Community Centre, and will be followed by a short service, conducted by the Rev. Richard Booth, and interment at Lumb Baptist Church, at 3-15pm.

The family has arranged for people attending the funeral to be park at the Weir Hotel, a 400-yard walk from the community centre service in Burnley Road where parking is restricted. They have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to be given to the hospice in Mrs Alderson’s memory.