Scores turn out to say goodbye to South Tyneside campaigner

Funeral of Anne Seymour at South Shields Crematorium.
Funeral of Anne Seymour at South Shields Crematorium.

Scores of people turned out to pay their respects to a selfless South Tyneside campaigner.

A requiem mass was held for Anne Seymour at St Gregory’s Church in South Shields on Tuesday evening - which was packed to standing room only.

Anne Seymour being presented with the BEM

Anne Seymour being presented with the BEM

Yesterday, the 80-year-old’s plain coffin arrived at South Shields Crematorium for committal - which was also well attended by loved ones, friends and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck

Miss Seymour, a former hospital surgeon who scooped an BEM for her sterling services to asylum seekers and refugees in the borough, passed away in her sleep last month.

However, before her passing, Miss Seymour, from the Lonnen, South Shields, had planned every aspect of her funeral, even the day it should be held on.

A member of her congregation said: “Anne had picked out every last detail. She was adamant that her requiem mass should take place on a Tuesday, because she thought that was a day of the week which was least likely to inconvenience people.

“She didn’t want any flowers, just a donation to her charity. She didn’t want no fuss, it was very typical of Anne.

“But she was so well respected, about seven or eight priests attended the service and the church was packed, people were standing.”

Miss Seymour, was a member of the borough’s Churches Together group for several decades and founded the STARCH (South Tyneside Asylum Seeker and Refugee Church Help), a support service and drop-in centre back in 1999.

Her steadfast support for refugees had roots in her own experiences in war-torn Nigeria while delivering medical aid in 1962.

She spent time as a refugee herself after being caught up in the civil war which tore apart the country.

She was also a caring but formidable presence to scores of South Tynesiders in her role as a consultant in accident and emergency medicine at the former Ingham Infirmary in South Shields.