Tributes paid after coronavirus death of former shipyard worker and care centre manager

A man who began his working life in his hometown's shipyards and rose to lead an education centre has died aged 82.

By Fiona Thompson
Wednesday, 23rd September 2020, 4:51 pm
Eddie Lockney in the garden he loved to look after.
Eddie Lockney in the garden he loved to look after.

Eddie Lockney was unwell with dementia and died on Monday, September 21, in South Tyneside District Hospital due to Covid-19.

He started work at the shipyards in Tyne Dock and met his wife Pat, also 82, when they both missed the work bus and got chatting as they walked to catch a regular service while he was an apprentice at Dowson’s and she was an office junior at Barber and Herron.

The couple, who married at St Simon’s Church, are parents to Karen and also leave son-in-law Mick Lightfoot and their daughter Connie, 12.

Eddie Lockney and his bride Pat on their wedding day.

After leaving the shipyard, having also served a time on National Service, watching on as the Berlin Wall went up in 1961, Eddie worked as a hospital joiner.

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He then became a woodwork instructor at the John Wright Centre for disabled adults in Flagg Court, studying additional qualifications as he worked his way up to become its manager.

As part of that role, he would organise an annual holiday for up to 300 people with extra learning needs, taking them to locations such as Blackpool or Skegness with the help of the council – generations would call it the highlight of their year.

Eddie Lockney at the John Wright Centre receiving a cup from the Heart Foundation for having raised the most amount of money in the first Great North Run.

He was among the first people to join in the Great North Run and was given a prize for raising the most money in the first one, accepting a prize from the Heart Foundation, and would enjoy sharing his stories and achievements through the Gazette and loved spending his time in retirement caring for his garden.

He was also a Labour activist.

Later in his own life, he needed care himself and was a resident of Chichester Court care home for the last three years, with Pat still a resident in Cleadon.

Eddie Lockney and two others as they carried out their National Service in Berlin in 1961, later telling his family he watched as people passed babies over the initial wall from East to West.

Karen described her father as a “modest, quiet man” and added: “When I was young and we would go to King Street we would never get very far for somebody stopping him to say hello and often to thank him for something he had done for them.

Funeral plans are still being arranged for Eddie’s service.

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