Family remembers Shields Gazette stalwart and wartime fire woman

Irene Scurr in her home town of South Shields.
Irene Scurr in her home town of South Shields.

A Shields Gazette stalwart and wartime ‘fire woman’ has been remembered by her family as a woman who was ‘loved by all.’

Irene Scurr (nee Gardner) - who had worked for the Gazette for nearly 50 years - died at the age of 97, after a short illness on Sunday, in Wigton Cottage Hospital in Carlisle.

Irene with her husband Eddie on their wedding day.

Irene with her husband Eddie on their wedding day.

Born in 1920, Irene grew up on King George Road in South Shields and followed in her father Richard’s footsteps as a Gazette employee when she joined the paper in 1936.

During the World War Two. Irene was a member of the National Fire Service, where she worked as a fire woman dispatcher at South Shields Fire Station.

When not directing fire crews, she would stand at the top of All Saints Church, Cleadon, and fire-watch during bombing raids.

When she was posted to the North Shields Gazette office she met Eddie Scurr, who later left for war service in The Pacific.

Irene with husband Eddie.

Irene with husband Eddie.

On his return, in 1946, the couple married at All Saints Church and over the years they travelled all over the world, with Eddie serving as a chief engineer.

Irene retired from the Gazette in 1981 and by that time had held numerous roles in the paper’s accounts department.

Her husband died in 1990, shortly after moving into Aldwych House on Commercial Road, South Shields, where Irene lived for 30 years.

Irene also volunteered at Mission To Seafarers at Mill Dam for a number of years.

Irene Scurr with husband Eddie on their wedding day.

Irene Scurr with husband Eddie on their wedding day.

She moved to Carlisle three years ago to be close to her niece, Susan Farish.

Mrs Farish said: “Everyone who knew her loved Irene. She was happiest with a cup of tea, Mr Kipling’s cake watching Deal Or No Deal surrounded by friends and family.”

Irene’s mother Mary Gardner lived to 104.

Irene - who was one of four siblings - lost her brothers William, known as Bill Gardner, and Richard Gardner along with sister-in-law Peggy. She is survived by her brother Sidney, 90.

Irene Scurr in her youth.

Irene Scurr in her youth.

Her nephew Chris Farish said Irene often talked about her time at the National Fire Service.

He said: “Irene was immensely proud of her time at the Gazette, the Gazette parties, the friends she made there and kept a cutting in her purse of the story of her retirement from 1981 until her death.

“She’ll be missed by all but had a long, happy and healthy life.”
Irene’s funeral will be held at the Carlisle Crematorium at 2pm on Friday, January 19.

Irene Scurr (nee Gardner) who had worked for the Gazette for nearly 50 years.

Irene Scurr (nee Gardner) who had worked for the Gazette for nearly 50 years.

Irene was a 'fire woman dispatcher' during the war.

Irene was a 'fire woman dispatcher' during the war.