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.

By Georgina Cutler
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.

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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.”

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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.”

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