‘She touched the lives of so many’ - dedicated campaigner Anne Seymour sadly dies

Anne Seymour with her MBE
Anne Seymour with her MBE

A tireless South Tyneside campaigner who dedicated her life to helping others across the globe has sadly died.

Anne Seymour, a former hospital surgeon who scooped a royal honour for her sterling services to asylum seekers and refugees in the borough, passed away in her sleep over the weekend at the age of 80.

She has been a huge figure in South Tyneside for so many years.

Bernadette Askins

Miss Seymour, from the Lonnen, South Shields, was a member of the borough’s Churches Together group for several decades and founded the STARCH (South Tyneside Asylum Seeker and Refugee Church Help), a support service and drop-in centre back in 1999.

Her steadfast support for refugees had roots in her own experiences in war-torn Nigeria while delivering medical aid in 1962.

She spent time as a refugee herself after being caught up in the civil war which tore apart the country.

She was also a caring but formidable presence to scores of South Tynesiders in her role as a consultant in accident and emergency medicine at the former Ingham Infirmary in South Shields.

Originally from Bromley in Kent, Miss Seymour moved to South Tyneside in 1976 to take on her hospital post.

She received her MBE at a special ceremony at Living Waters Church in Laygate earlier this year.

Bernadette Askins, chair of South Tyneside Churches Together, has heaped warm praise on a ‘huge figure’ for generations of South Tynesiders.

She said; “She has been a huge figure in South Tyneside for so many years.

“She had an impact on the lives of so many people.

“She would help people quietly, in an unobtrusive way.

“When she was in Nigeria she was caught up in the civil war and taken prisoner in a refugee camp.

“She was a caring but formidable character.

“I remember hearing one time she ejected an entire gang from the hospital when she worked there.

“She has touched the lives of so many people.”

Miss Seymour’s funeral arangements are still being finalised.