Life and times of a lovely lady from South Shields

Bob and Angela Owen at their wedding in 1960.
Bob and Angela Owen at their wedding in 1960.

We all of us touch others’ lives in some way, and can only hope that their memory of us is kind.

To those who knew her, Angela Owen was “A lovely lady who made us laugh.”

Angela as remembered by friends and family.

Angela as remembered by friends and family.

But of course she was much more than that: a wife, a mother, a teacher.

Still, it’s the happy subtitle of the book that her family and friends have chosen to remember her with, following her death a year ago.

She and her husband Bob will be well remembered by folk in Shields, where they both grew up and lived before settling, latterly, in Almondbury, Huddersfield.

Readers will know Bob as the author of books, among them Two Rooms and a View, about his early life in Shields.

After her death, from liver cancer, last June, Bob found some material Angela had written.

“It turned out to be the start of her autobiography, written, unknown to me, well before she was ill,” he tells me.

In the months since, and leaving her original work unmodified, Bob has filled in the latter years, as well as asking family and friends in South Shields and Huddersfield to contribute short chapters on her life.

The book, in a limited edition, is deliberately unpriced and not on general sale.

But says Bob: “I am willing to supply a copy to anyone who may remember her in Shields for a contribution to cancer reasearch, or the hospice where Angela spent the last two weeks of her life.”

Angela was born Angela Hancock, the daughter of Joe, a steward in the Merchant Navy, and his wife, Annie, in 1938.

She attended Stanhope Road Junior School and, later, the Girls’ Grammar School and St John’s Commercial College.

She and Bob met in 1954 through St Andrew’s Presbyerian Church in Talbot Road, where they married six years later.

What follows will be instantly recognisable yet is also uniquely personal to Bob and Angela: the joys and challenges of making a home and family, building careers, establishing interests – Angela’s included amateur dramatics – and eventually retirement.

In Angela, family, friends and neighbours remember an elegant and viviacious lady, who was also caring –a good listener – albeit not averse to a brandy and a naughty joke.

And an eye for a handsome man, who she had in Bob who, with all the others who have contributed to this book, has done her proud.

l If anyone one is interested in having a copy of the book about Angela’s life for themselves, give a Bob a ring on 014 8453 3041.

Donations – perhaps what you might expect to pay for a similar book in the shops – are invited to Yorkshire Cancer Research (www.yorkshirecancerresearch.co.uk) or Kirkwood Hospice in Dalton, Huddersfield (www.kirkwoodhospice.co.uk).