Customs House pays tribute to 'colourful' Karen Ratcliffe after she passes away aged 40

Tributes have been paid to the much-loved ‘face of The Customs House’ Karen Ratcliffe after her tragic loss aged just 40.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 4:12 pm
The Customs House will be celebrating Karen's 41st birthday next week. (Purple Sugar Photography)

Karen, from the Lawe Top, was described a woman who brought ‘light and happiness’ as tributes honoured the box office worker.

The popular 40-year-old, who was well-known in South Shields, died just days before her 41st birthday.

The arts venue said the team will be lighting up the building in multi-colours on August 24 to celebrate her birthday as colleagues gather to honour their ‘colourful’ friend.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Tributes have been paid to Karen Ratcliffe who sadly died aged 40. (Purple Sugar Photography)

Ray Spencer, executive director of The Customs House, said: “Karen was the face of the box office, she loved greeting people – she had an enormous personality and was committed to her job and looking after everyone.

"She had a colourful personality, colourful hair and wore colourful clothes, Karen was so joyous and was adored by customers.”

Read More

Read More
Ballroom closures and FaceTime rehearsals - best friends win national dancing ti...

The Customs House have also tweeted a tribute saying: “Our House is a little darker today as we’ve lost one of our own. Our beautiful smiley Karen always brought a ray of sunshine into the building, a flash of colour, a wicked sense of humour and lots of goodies.

Karen has been described as 'colourful' and 'happy'. (Purple Sugar Photography)

“We are heartbroken. Our love & thoughts go out to her family & friends.”

Mr Spencer said that a permanent tribute would be arranged to remember Karen.

He added: "Karen lifted people’s spirits even after Covid forced us to close and we’ll never forget that.

“Our hearts go out to Karen’s sister and mum and dad.”

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

The Shields Gazette has been on South Tyneside since 1849, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe.