St John Ambulance stalwart dies - click here

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Pendle woman who played a key role with the St John Ambulance.

Former nurse Mrs Dorothy Hodgson died aged 78. She dedicated her life to nursing in accident and emergency and out-patient departments at local hospitals and had been involved with the first aid organisation for decades, joining first in her teens as a young cadet in Todmorden.

She became a familiar face at public events across the Burnley area, giving thousands of hours of her time, and was for many years part of the first aid team at Turf Moor. Her love of football, and especially Burnley FC, was legendary.

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There was genuine shock when widowed Mrs Hodgson was brutally attacked during a burglary at her home in Brierfield in July, 2006. Her husband, Lawrence, a storekeeper, had died 12 years earlier. She was touched by the public and football club’s concern for her and, never one to shirk duty, returned to her place on the touchline only a fortnight later.

Mrs Hodgson retired reluctantly from the NHS when she was 63 but continued to use her skills in a nursing home. She took her skills to Israel in answer to a call for volunteer children’s nurses in 1979 and during her spare time voluntarily worked an eye hospital run by the St John organisation in Jerusalem. Four years later she was invited to meet the Pope after volunteering her first aid skills to crowds in St Peter’s Square during a Holy year.

Her long service with the St John Ambulance included being Divisional Nursing Officer, a post she took up in 1973, and becoming the Area Nursing Officer in 1985.

Last year, Mrs Hodgson was presented with an Exceptional Service and Dedication Award for her work with St John Ambulance by the then Mayor of Burnley, Coun. John Harbour.

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She had been unwell for months but continued her first aid work and helping to run a luncheon club until days before she was admitted to the Royal Blackburn Hospital a week before she died.

Her funeral service is today at St James’s Church, Briercliffe, at 11 a.m. and Burnley Crematorium at noon. Donations in her memory will be shared between the St John Ambulance and Pendleside Hospice.

Mrs Hodgson leaves two daughters, Jane and Kathryn, a brother, two grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.